INNOTEX Center was founded in 2013 as a result of the integration of CTF UPC, the Intexter Institute and CRIT UPC. The Center benefits from the considerable industrial experience and knowledge of these three entities. INNOTEX Center is a leader in research and development for general industry that draws on years of university-business collaboration in the fields of textiles, toxicology and the environment.
CENTER has cross technological capabilities and experience in the development of projects in three main areas:
• Structure and properties of textile materials.
• Textile biotechnology, enzyme and biopolymer applications to fibres.
• Development and application of elastic filaments.
• Design and construction of prototypes of new yarn, fabric and non-woven fabric structures for fashion, domestic, technical and smart technology uses.
• Use of microcapsules in the spinning process (containing perfumes, medicines, cohesive materials, lubricants, wetting agents, photostabilizers and other products that give the materials specific properties).
• Innovations in the processes of spinning, bleaching, dyeing and finishing.
• Optimization and evaluation of detergents and the application of surfactants and polymers to textiles.
• Construction of textile machinery and measuring and control equipment.
• Analysis of fibres, yarns, fabrics and non-woven fabric structures. Official reports on defects.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH TOXICOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY
• Basic and applied research on environmental aspects: toxicology and microbiology.
• Product safety and formulation according to European directives.
• Detection of biofilms on surfaces, biodegradation of polymers and disinfection strategies.
• Study of cell changes caused by the action of drugs, contaminants and microorganisms.
• Ecotoxicology of chemical and biological contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial environments.
Physiological and histopathological effects on aquatic organisms.
• In vitro toxicity tests using cells and alternative systems.
• Biochemical and enzyme studies of xenobiotics.
• Development of new toxicity and viability assays.
• Studies of toxicity, bioaccumulation and biodegradation of potential chemical and biological contaminants in industrial products and diverse materials.
• Study and development of biosensors.
• Analysis of specific biomarkers.
INNOTEX CENTER holds over 20 patents, most of which are in use by companies, and has one spin off.
INNOTEX CENTER produces marketable prototype s, since it has several industrial pilot plants and a machine shop for prototyping. Its approach is interdisciplinary, which facilitates the development of multi-sectoral applications.
For example, INNOTEX CENTER’s developments and technology can be applied in the following industrial sectors:
Colorants and pigments
Fashion and domestic
Ecotoxicological tests to measure stress in organisms in the Ebro River between Ribarroja and the river's mouth
The project aims to characterise the biological effects (biomarkers) of contaminated sediments on the fauna of the lower Ebro River using a battery of in situ biomarkers and laboratory toxicity tests. The biomarker study is carried out on three different taxa: benthic macroinvertebrates, fish and birds.
The laboratory tests are based on whole effluent toxicity tests, in which invertebrates and fish (Danio rerio) are exposed to the contaminated sediments.
Shirt for sufferers of hyperhidrosis
Development of a shirt that prevents sweat stains from forming on clothes, designed particularly for people who suffer from hyperhidrosis. The shirt is made from two layers of fabric joined by a new technique that produces an air chamber between the layers. As a result, sweat evaporates and completely disappears, leaving the clothing dry at all times. The fabric that is in contact with the skin is made from very fine, porous microfibers that confer high levels of comfort, thermal conduction and absorption capacity. In addition, the inner fabric layer is treated to increase transpiration. This innovation was developed in collaboration with SUTRAN SL.
Biomonitoring of contaminated soil: Ecological risk assessment in invertebrate communities in select regions of Catalonia
This project aims to develop new protocols for assessing the environmental quality of potentially contaminated soil based on the integrated experimental study of its effects on living beings. The experimental methods complement laboratory and field methods.
An integrated study is performed of the effects of different contaminated soils and of biomarkers in soil organisms, and these results are correlated with the presence of specific contaminants and physicochemical parameters of the soil. The research and development of new bioassays must include the validation thereof through comparison with existing assays, ensuring that the results obtained are equally valid, reliable, representative, useful and reproducible and can be used as a pre-assessment tool, the results of which can help to determine whether to move on to more sophisticated and costly technologies.
The project combines a variety of disciplines: laboratory toxicity tests, biochemical experience in determining biomarkers (e.g., liver enzymes) in field organisms affected by soil contaminants, experience with analytical chemistry technology in determining the concentration of specific contaminants, and, finally, verification of the reduction to acceptable levels following specific remedial actions.
Toxicity and capacity to disrupt thyroid function of brominated flame retardants
This project tracked the cytotoxicity and toxicity in Daphnia magna of three brominated flame-retardant compounds (HBCD, BDE-209 and TBBA). The three tested compounds showed low cytotoxicity in the cell line used, the HepG2 line derived from human hepatocytes. Different field and laboratory tests were carried out to study the bioavailability of HBCD and BDE-209 in barbels (Barbus graellsii). For the BDE-209, an in vitro metabolism study was conducted using rat microsomes; CYP2B was seen to have the greatest impact on the degradation of the BDE-209. Finally, different biomarkers were assessed in a population of barbels exposed to a Vero River tributary contaminated with different types of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). In the initial phase, the metabolism was monitored, along with the activity of certain antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, DT-diaphorase and GST. This activity was highly correlated with total PBDEs in tissue.