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Non ecotoxic biosurfactants can help on sea bioremediation? First steps for a new oil spill response strategy

Non ecotoxic biosurfactants can help on sea bioremediation? First steps for a new oil spill response strategy | iBB | Scoop.it

The use of Mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs), a group of biosurfactants with excellent biochemical properties, in bioremediation in marine and terrestrial environments has been envisioned. However, knowledge regarding their ecotoxicity is limited, and the current production costs are too high to make them competitive in the surfactant market. In an effort to facilitate the use of MELs for marine bioremediation purposes, the team from 2BRG/iBB studied MELs production using seawater in medium formulation as reported on “Towards Mannosylerythritol Lipids (MELs) for Bioremediation: Effects of NaCl on M. antarcticus Physiology and Biosurfactant and Lipid Production; Ecotoxicity of MELs”, published in Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. The cells were exposed to different levels of NaCl during fermentation and the effects of increased salinity on the cells and their performance were monitored. In addition, the cells were briefly exposed to osmotic shock by introducing pure NaCl into the broth to measure their physiological responses. Although the overall effect of NaCl in the medium was negative, cells produced more lipases in these stress conditions. Furthermore, the changes triggered by osmotic shock caused changes in the cell surface and affected their hydrophobicity, reducing the levels of MELs adsorbed to the cells, which in turn led to an increase in the formation of MEL-rich beads. Marine-level salinity (3.5%) was found to be sufficient to enable the production of MELs under non-sterile conditions and to inhibit the introduction of bacterial contaminants. Finally, the toxicity levels of MELs in a model marine organism and plant model were lower than those of other biosurfactants and a commercial chemical dispersant used for bioremediation.

This publication has as first-author the (now former) PhD student Petar Kekovic of the MIT-Portugal Program in Bioengineering - and as a corresponding author Frederico Ferreira and Nuno Faria.  Additionally, the co-authors and a team from Sintef – Roman Netzer, Umer Farooq and Ariadna Szczybelski submitted a patent application for formulation of a novel MEL based oils spill response agent, reference number 117583.

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Ana Guedes to Defend PhD Thesis in Bioengineering

Ana Guedes to Defend PhD Thesis in Bioengineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Ana Marisa Mendes Gonçalves Vinhais Guedes will be defending her Ph D thesis in Bioengineering (MIT Portugal program) at Instituto Superior Técnico, thursday the 25th February 2016 (13:00 H, complexo interdisicplinar). During the last years, and under the supervision of Domingos Henriques from iMM and Cláudia Lobato Silva from BERG-IBB, Ana focused her efforts on the study of the molecular mechanisms regulating pluripotency. The title of Ana's  thesis is “Analysis of the gene regulatory network underlying pluripotenciality in mouse embryonic stem cells”. 

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iBB/MIT Reaserchers Develop a New High-Plasmid Producer E. coli Strain

iBB/MIT Reaserchers Develop a New High-Plasmid Producer E. coli Strain | iBB | Scoop.it

Researchers from BERG-iBB and the Prather lab at MIT developed a pgi gene knockout E. coli strain with the specific goal of producing large amounts of plasmid DNA vectors. The new strain was tested by Nature Technology Corporation in the US, yielding 2100-2200 mg plasmid DNA per L in 14 L bioreactors. The strain may be usefull in the large scale production of plasmid-based gene transfer vectors with application in  gene therapy, DNA vaccination and recombinant protein production by transient transfection. The research was developed under the framework of the MIT-Portugal program and is a direct result of Geisa Gonçalves (in the photo) Ph D. thesis in Bioengineering. Click on title to learn more.

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Marisa Santos Defends PhD Thesis in Bioengineering

Marisa Santos Defends PhD Thesis in Bioengineering | iBB | Scoop.it
Marisa Andreia Viegas dos Santos will be defending her Ph D thesis in Bioengineering (MIT Portugal program) at Instituto Superior Técnico, thursday the 24th july 2017 (10:30 H, room PA.3). During the last years, and under the supervision of Frederico Ferreira from BERG-iBB, Marisa focused her efforts on the use of the yeast Moesziomyces antarcticus as a cell factory for the biosynthesis of surface active glycolipids of the mannosylerythritol class. The title of Marisa's thesis is “Mannosylerythritol lipids bioproduction by Moesziomyces antarcticus: Sequential stages approach”.
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Irina Simões Defends PhD Thesis in Bioengineering

Irina Simões Defends PhD Thesis in Bioengineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Irina Neves Simões  has defended her Ph D thesis in Bioengineering (MIT Portugal program) at Instituto Superior Técnico on the 27th November 2015. During the last years, and under the supervision of Cláudia Lobato da Silva from BERG-IBB and Pedro Baptista from Aragon Health Sciences Institute, Irina has investigated tissue engineering approaches to construct urethra bioscaffolds.  The title of her thesis is “Tissue Engineering Approaches to Stress Urinary Incontinence using Acellular Urethra Bioscaffolds”. 

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