The technological platform INSPIRA-1 proposes as the main scientific and technological objective to develop biotechnological tools to improve the bacteria Arthrospira platensis (spirulina) and optimize the biomass production for various industrial purposes. The first objective is to achieve more efficient, productive and nutritious cultures for its direct use as food and feed. The second objective is the industrial production of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical compounds from the microalgae, and the recovering of the resulting wastes to produce energy. The program of activities begins with the genomic sequencing of the algae and the subsequent metabolic model at genomic scale, as well as developing a package of highly innovative tools for its genetic modification. Then, we will optimize the bioreactor operating conditions, providing interactive and iterative data to support the metabolic model. In addition, we will develop highly innovative technologies for the controlled release of nutrients based on the use of recycled glass beads. The biomass will be directly used as a nutrient or used for lipid extraction of compounds of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical interest. These high added value lipids will be further modified by new biocatalytic processes to convert them into other compounds of higher pharmaceutical interest. The spirulina and the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical derived products will be tested by using animal models to find new beneficial properties for health (e.g., cardiovascular). To close the production cycle we will explore the ways of valuing the wastes resulting from the extraction of spirulina for energy applications prior to his transformation into biogas. Systems analysis applied to the whole process will allow us to determine the feasibility of the production system at industrial scale considering all types of socioeconomic and environmental parameters, applying life cycle methodologies.

Inspira 1 is a coordinated project involving partners from CIB-CSIC (coordinator), ICP-CSIC, ICV-CSIC, UCM, UAM, URJC and IMDEA Energy as well as several associated groups and companies. The project is funded by the Community of Madrid under CAM Ref: S2013/ABI2783 (INSPIRA1-CM) with Fondos Estruturales of the European Union.