Ana Rita Duarte and Alexandre Paiva create Des Solutio spin-off


Des Solutio is the spin-off created by Ana Rita Duarte, Associate Professor at the Chemistry Department at FCT NOVA and Principal Investigator of the des.solve research lab at LAQV, and Alexandre Paiva, FCT Investigator at LAQV-FCT NOVA. It aims to develop safer and greener alternatives to the chemicals that are usually used in the production of beauty, pharmaceutical, personal care and other products.

The research work behind this new spin-off is done at the des.solve research lab and led to the development of new methods to use Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents (NADES), which can replace other toxic organic solvents such as ethanol that is currently used in a wide range of industries to extract natural ingredients from plants. NADES offer many benefits over those solvents, once they are entirely derived from natural compounds such as organic acids, amino acids and sugars, found in a wide range of plants. It has been already identified a vast range of NADES, so they can be matched to specific active ingredients to extract only what is needed. There is no need to recover an active ingredient from a NADES, unlike conventional solvents, some of which are too toxic for use on skin or in foods.

Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) are extremely versatile solvents with several applications in, e.g., pharmaceutic, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries. Ana Rita Duarte explains that “the true potential of DES comes from the fact that they are mainly derived from natural compounds. Besides having a completely eco-friendly production process, when used as extraction solvents of bioactive molecules, there is no need to remove the solvent. This solves complicated downstream problems and more importantly opens new opportunities to design more effective formulations of the final product.”

“Des Solutio was created to facilitate the implementation of DES technology at industrial scale and we envisage that this can only be achieved through consolidated partnerships between University and Industry”, emphasizes Ana Rita Duarte.