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Whey: a future in biorefineries

Is it possible to create food products or cosmetic ingredients by processing whey? Absolutely. This innovative idea has been thought up by four young women who graduated in Biotechnology at the University of Bari.
Rosita Pavone, Erika Andriola, Antonella Carbone and Maria Pisano are the names of the four young entrepreneurs who have created the startup company Bioinnotech based in Rutigliano (province of Bari) and set themselves the mission of improving the quality and productivity of the Apulian agri-food sector.

The four biotechnologists met during an internship at the University of Goteborg in Sweden and decided to implement their idea. They currently work in the laboratories of the University of Bari but could shortly open up a Green biorefinery. As well as specific skills regarding biorefineries and the green energy industry, they have also brought back from Sweden a new approach as far as respect towards the environment is concerned and an interest in transferring their scientific and biotechnological skills to something concrete.

BioInnoTech is committed to optimising technology that has already been developed on a small scale at the laboratories of the Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics of the University of Bari and with which an agreement has been stipulated about the use of space and tools.


Activities carried out by BioInnoTech’s research team are currently focused on whey. The strength of BioInnoTech lies in its whey collection services whose purpose is not merely to dispose of this waste product, but rather, to make sure it is subsequently used in industrial production. Today whey is used as yeast for wine and beer.

The purpose of the project is to develop a biorefinery in Puglia, an area of dairy products, starting right from the retrieval and development of the main by-product of the dairy industry, i.e. whey. Because of the high environmental impact of whey due to its chemical composition, Italian law requires it to be properly disposed of. Nevertheless, as a result of its high management costs, whey is often directly disposed of in the open environment (soil or rivers).