Fluensys | FUNCELL
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Exploiting fungi potential for recalcitrant compounds removal from cellulosic wastewaters

General Info

Project financed by ERA-NET COFUND MANUNET-III-2017
For the Romanian partners the project is funded by U.E.F.I.S.C.D.I. – www.uefiscdi.ro
For the Italian partners the project is funded by Regione Toscana – www.regione.toscana.it
Acronym: FUNCELL
Contract no — for Romanian partners: 21/01.06.2018
Domain: Manufacturing technologies for environmental and energy applications including resource efficiency and recycling

Project Partners

  1. DFR Systems (Romania) – Project coordinator: Ioana Corina Moga
  2. Consorzio CuoioDepur SpA (Italy) – Project Responsible: Gualtiero Mori
  3. The National R&D Institute for Textiles and Leather (Romania) – Project Responsible: Ovidiu Iordache
  4. Opus automazione spa (Italy) – Project Responsible: Elena Andolfi
  5. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Florence (Italy) – Project Responsible: Giulio Munz


Project implementation period: 01/06/2018 – 31/05/2020
Project Duration: 24 months


FUNCELL consists is the development of an innovative mycobased tertiary treatment for tannery and papermill wastewaters efficient in removing tannins and absorbable organic halogen (AOX), not depleted by consolidated bacterial based processes. The costs of treatments for m3 of wastewaters will be reduced and qualitative improvements in the treatment of wastewater are envisaged. FUNCELL is based both on modern processes for biological treatment (Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor, MBBR) and on biological nonconventional processes catalyzed by fungi [WhiteRotFungi (WRF) and Ascomycota (ASC)]. An innovative carrier, based on polyethylene supports, will be developed for optimizing the fungal biomass growth in system where bacteria are competitive. A pilot of an innovative MBBR designed for fungi will be set up and tested. An innovative approach to monitor and automatize the reactor, based on a specifically designed differential respirometer, will be constructed. The TRL 6 level will be reached. FUNCELL’s objective is the (15-20)% reduction of the investments in wastewater treatment plants, compared to actual technologies, comprising anaerobic treatments dedicated to the depletion of AOX.

Needs Addressed

Tannins and AOXs are keen to damages aquatic environments. More over they are produced by industrial activities that are highly water demanding. FUNCELL is oriented to create nonconventional processes performing better than the “best available technologies”, in the removal of both tannins and AOXs from the effluents and to promote the reuse of treated water and the adoption of a common policy involving both Romania and Italy in the fame of the Communitarian and National regulations.

The obtainment of a high quality effluents and effluents with a water quality suitable for reuse will be the two main needs addressed by FUNCELL. FUNCELL goals will be achieved by developing an MBBR treatment specifically designed for fungal metabolism, producing lower amount of sludges accompanied by a higher removal efficiency. The reutilization of the treated wastewater inside the services of the industrial plants will determine a decrease in the consumption of water in the same sectors. FUNCELL will determine a global decrease of the environmental footprint of tannery and paper industries.

Estimated Results

  1. A new type of support media (carriers) specifically designed produced and tested to support fungal growth in a not sterile environment typical of wastewater treatment. These carriers will be novel and/or optimized for what concern the geometry, the size, the surface properties and the material and will be a new product for the market of MBBR.
  2. A new bioreactor specifically designed to support fungal growth in a potentially inhibiting environment and when competing for substrates with bacteria.
  3. A novel monitoring system for the measurement of oxygen uptake rate consumption in a packed bed reactor that will allow to acquire information on both biological activity and oxygen diffusion across the reactor bed.

FUNCELL Project Objectives

Objective 1. Isolating a fungal bioactive consortium (bioactivetool). Utilizing cellulose as carbon source capable to transform, biodegrade and deplete tannins and AOXs. The capacity of the fungal candidates to exert their metabolic potential utilizing different substrates for growth, comprising cellulose, will be evaluated both in sterile and non-sterile conditions at bench scale.

Objective 2. For the scaling up of the experimentation, the selected fungal strain will be grown on innovative polyethylene carriers. The carrier will be designed to be exploited in a moving bed bioreactor and to favor fungal growth in the presence of competing bacteria.

Objective 3. Designing and testing a moving bed bioreactor capable of favoring the growth and metabolic activity of the bioactivetool by the exploitation of the innovative carrier in non-sterile conditions where bacteria are usually more competitive.

Objective 4. Designing and evaluating an innovative solution based on a differential respirometer to monitor, control and automatize the system. The technical objective of the project is to set up new advanced and intelligent processes with positive.

Project Budget as Mentioned in the Project Proposal

Partner Name Costs
Partner Contribution
Requested Funding
SC DFR Systems SRL 207.700,00 61.500,00 146.200,00
Consorzio CuoioDepur SpA 90.000,00 54.000,00 36.000,00
The National R&D Institute for Textiles and Leather 99.800,00 0,00 99.800,00
Opus automazione spa 130.000,00 78.000,00 52.000,00
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Florence 190.000,00 104.500,00 85.500,00
TOTAL 717.500,00 298.000,00 419.500,00

Project Implementation

The project implementation is done according to the Consortium Agreement. The purpose of the consortium agreement is to specify the relationship among the Partners, in particular concerning the organization of the work between the Partners, the management of the Project and the rights and obligations of the Partners regarding the project and the results of the FUNCELL. The project works and the responsibilities for the tasks of each Partner are to be arranged as agreed in the Project Plan.

DFR Systems SRL, as the Coordinating Partner and will be responsible for the project management in accordance with the Manunet Guidelines.

Dissemination Activities

Main Dissemination Activities Mentioned in the Project Proposal

  1. FUNCELL webpage
  2. Participation in symposia and conferences
  3. ISI rated articles
  4. Articles publishing in scientific journals
  5. Patent request
  6. Project poster

Dissemination Activities

I. Papers published/accepted for publication

  1. Ioana Corina MOGA, Ovidiu IORDACHE, Gabriel PETRESCU, Floarea PRICOP, Iuliana DUMITRESCU, Polyethylene based materials for biofilm carriers used in wastewater treatment, IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, Volume 374, conference 1
  2. Ioana Corina MOGA, Ovidiu IORDACHE, Gabriel PETRESCU, Cornelia-Elena MITRAN, Elena PERDUM2, Floarea PRICOP, Roxana BUZEA, Educație pentru dezvoltarea tehnologiilor de epurare, Buletinul AGIR (accepted for publication)
    Download paper

II. Presentations at international conferences

  1. International Conference on Innovative Research, May 17-18, 2018, Iasi, Romania
    Presented poster: Polyethylene Based Materials for Biofilm Carriers Used in Wastewater Treatment. Authors: Ioana Corina MOGA, Ovidiu IORDACHE, Gabriel PETRESCU, Floarea PRICOP, Iuliana DUMITRESCU

  1. Simpozion EDUCATIA-COMPONENTA ESENTIALA A POLITICII DE MEDIU, editia a XII-a, June 7, 2018, Bucharest, Romania 
    Presented paper: Educație pentru dezvoltarea tehnologiilor de epurare. Authors: Ioana Corina MOGA, Ovidiu IORDACHE, Gabriel PETRESCU, Cornelia-Elena MITRAN, Elena PERDUM2, Floarea PRICOP, Roxana BUZEA

  1. The International Conference of the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Bucharest, June 7-9, 2018, Bucharest, Romania 
    Presented poster: MBBRs Functionalization with Cerioporus Squamosus. Authors: Ovidiu IORDACHE, Ioana Corina MOGA, Iuliana DUMITRESCU, Elena PERDUM, Elena-Cornelia MITRAN, Ana-Maria Andreea Chivu, Mariana FERDES, Floarea PRICOP

III. Showroom, exhibition participations

  1. EUROINVENT, European Exhibition of Creativity and Innovation, May 17-19, 2018, Iasi, Romania

IV. FUNCELL presentation posters displayed in the Italian partners’ offices

List of Awards

2017 – Diploma of Excellence at the EUROINVENT 2018 Salon (European Exhibition of Creativity and Innovation)