Development of a novel continuous Extracellular Vesicle production system


GreenEV is an interdisciplinary project that was financed by the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowship (MSCA-IF) from 2020-2022. GreenEV builds bridges between EV research, plant biology, biotechnology, and food nanotechnology. MSCA fellow Maneea Moubarak from Damanhour University, Egypt worked for two years on the development of a novel continuous plant EVs production platform at EVs & MS laboratory. 

Plant cells similar to mammalian cells secrete phospholipid membrane-surrounded vesicles. In the greenEV project, we exploit plant cell suspension cultures of tomato (Solanum Lycopersicum L) and gingko (Ginkgo biloba L) for the production of EVs. There are many practical reasons for choosing tomato and gingko for our studies, such as both species have sequenced genomes that make feasible their molecular studies. Moreover, tomato is a nutritious, healthy, and high economic value food, and one of the symbols of Italian-made agri-food products worldwide. Ginkgo is a member of a very old genus, with some fossils dating back 270 million years. Leaves and seeds of ginkgo have various uses in traditional herbal medicine and modern supplement formulations. Gingko biloba has high heterozygosity and it is an endangered plant in Egypt. The specific research objectives of greenEV project are: 

  • Set up continuous plant suspension cell-based EV production system 
  • Characterize plant cell-derived EVs using an integrated analytical pipeline
  • Transform the plant EVs into nutraceutical and drug delivery system to overcome on limitations of current EV therapeutics 

None of these objectives has been addressed before and they have high potential to expand the knowledge in the EV field and to drive the research activity towards industrialized continuous production of plant EVs. The research objectives were integrated with concerted training objectives in EV research, omics, outreach program, dissemination events, and considerable knowledge transfer in plant tissue culturing from the researcher to the CNR-IBBR host group. 

The beneficiary of the grant is the National Research Council of Italy. The scientific responsible for the project is Gabriella Pocsfalvi. Other collaborators were Prof. Pasquale Chiaiese from the Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Federico II, Italy, Prof. Veronika Krlaj-Iglič from the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and Prof. Jozsef Jeko from the Agricultural and Molecular Research, University of Nyíregyháza, Hungary

The MSCA-IF project ended on 30 November 2022. Maneea Moubarak went back to Damanhour, Egypt where he will built his own tissue culture lab. GreenEV activities continue at EVs & MS lab.


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement Nº 895579.


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EVs & MS laboratory

Institute of Biosciences and BioResources

National Research Council

via P. Castellino, 111

80131, Napoli


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