Dionysos Project is co-funded by the LIFE-Environment Programme of the DG Environment of the European Union.
The participating partners of DIONYSOS project were: The Chemistry Laboratory of the Agricultural University of Athens, the School of Pharmacy of the University of Athens, the GAIA Research Institute of Goulandris Natural History Museum, Terra Nova Ltd and KEOSOE.
The Chemistry Laboratory of the Agricultural University of Athens, established on 1920, is one of the oldest laboratories of the AUA and belongs to the division of Chemistry and Physics of the department of Sciences. The research group involved in this project is headed by professor S. Haroutounian and includes one additional faculty member (assoc. prof. C. Georgiou), a tenured scientist (Dr. S. Koulocheri), a tenured technician (P. Kontis), graduate students/postdocs. Currently is active in the following areas of research: 1) Chemistry of Natural Products (Isolation-Synthesis), recently completed the first enantioselective synthesis of (+)-prosophylline, 2) Bio-medical applications of organic synthesis with emphasis to the chemistry of estrogens and antiestrogens, 3) Bioactive Compounds; synthesis, elucidation of structure activity relationship, and 4) Development of analytical procedures for agricultural samples analyses; methodology for analyses of polluted water samples. Recently, the said research group has participated and successfully concluded research project concerning the “Teprenes produced from agriculture as products and wastes as starting materials for the preparation of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and biocontrol agents”, which was financed by European Community (FAIR, CT 1781, 12/1996 until 6/2001).

This group was in charge of the management-coordination of the project and performed the wastewater recycling experiments, the transformation of the remaining sludgy waste to animal food of high nutritional value and conducted (in collaboration with the corresponding laboratory of the animal sciences department of the AUA) the animal feeding experiments. Finally, they also worked on the evaluation of the quality of the produced (by composting) natural organic fertilizer.

The School of Pharmacy of the University of Athens was founded at 1843.  The current number of the staff personnel is 41 faculty members. The research group involved in this proposal consists of seven members of the faculty, with the following research interests: Isolation of compounds with pharmaceutical interest from natural sources, plant, bacterial and marine organism (alkaloids, monoterpenoids, diterpenoids, triterpenoids, lignans, flavonoids, and glycosides); Search for new lead compounds of plant origin from Greek, Mediterranean and New Caledonian flora, mainly for cytotoxic and antiviral activity; Synthesis of analogs of novel lipophilic anthracycline antibiotics and new acronycine analogs with an increase antitumor potency, development of new natural and synthetic phytoestrogens, and structural studies of natural products by 2D NMR spectroscopy and Molecular Modeling.

In the project Professor Skaltsounis and his collaborators (E. Mikros, P. Magiatis, G. Kazantzoglou) were responsible for the extraction and recovery of bioactive natural products from the wineries waste and designed, set the operational parameters and supervised the construction of the corresponding pilot plant.

The GAIA Environmental Research and Educational Center is part of the Goulandris Natural History Museum, which was founded in 1964.  In the educational sector a series of exhibits on the structure and the functions of the planet earth, the bio-chemical cycles which sustain life, the laws of ecological balance and the course of man’s progress are presented.  In the research sector, GAIA’s laboratories deal with the vital sectors of the soil biology, biotechnology and bioanalytical chemistry.  The research interests of the newly founded Bioanalytical Department of the GAIA Center are focused on environmental and biomedical research, and mainly on the inter-relationship among environment, health and nutrition.  The current research activities are summarized as follows: 1) Exploitation of the plant properties and plant-produced therapeutics towards the development of new and innovative antibiotics, anticancer agents and other therapeutic substances. Development of methodologies for the rapid and sensitive isolation, as well as for the structure determination of the plants’ active ingredients. 2) Assessment of the impact of environmental factors in human health, as well as in food products. Development of analytical methodologies towards the detection, identification and monitoring of environmental estrogens and food contaminants, and search for strategies towards their elimination, and 3) Use of analytical methodologies, based on mass spectrometric and chromatographic techniques, for the analysis of complex biological systems and the structural characterization of natural products, and Biotechnology-derived biomolecules. 

GAIA laboratories provided all the analytical support of the project by performing qualitative and quantitative analyses of waste, intermediates and products throughout the whole duration of the project.

TERRA NOVA Ltd. is an environmental engineering consulting firm, which mainly focuses on environmental management, providing integrated solutions to the contemporary problems and challenges of the public and private sector. The company’s personnel and associates consist of scientists with a multidisciplinary background: chemical engineers, chemists, lawyers, mechanical engineers, geologists, software application specialists, which have a wide experience in environmental issues, and more specifically in the design of wastewater and solid waste treatment systems, the control of industrial air emissions, the design of Environmental Management Systems, Environmental Impact Assessment, environmental policy and law, environmental monitoring and analysis. 

In the specific project Terra Nova Ltd. worked on the review of existing technologies and know-how and performed the design of the prototype pilot plant (natural antioxidants extraction and solid waste composting). They also supervised the pilot plant construction works. Finally, they  performed the feasibility study of the scale up of the development process.

KEOSOE was established on 1949 and is the Central Union of vine and wine producing cooperative organizations of Greece. It is a third degree branch cooperative organization having as prime objective the protection of viniculturists interests and the promotion of its members financial development. KEOSOE consists of 32 registered members (all second and first degree cooperatives representing geographically the whole country), which account for 200,000 Greek families.

KEOSOE was the technical consultant of the project team providing their extensive know-how concerning wine making industrial processes. Furthermore, they provided the required white-grape waste and hosted a significant part of the project activities in the premises of cooperative wineries. Finally, they organized the dissemination activities for cooperative and independent wineries of Greece.

Part of the Project was co-funded by
Ktima Kir Yianni which is one of the major wine producers of Greece and is strongly interested on the results of this project. They participated by providing the required red-grape waste and will hosted some of the project activities.