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Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
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Manufacture of Microfibers of Polyhydroxyalkanoate from Cassava Peel Waste by Electrospinning

Manufacture of Microfibers of Polyhydroxyalkanoate from Cassava Peel Waste by Electrospinning | iBB | Scoop.it

Cassava (Manihot esculenta) cultivation is of great importance in many economies, particularly in Colombia. About 630,000 tons of C-rich cassava waste is produced annually and applications to high value products, applying the circular economy concept, must be developed. A recent publication in Journal of Polymers and the Environment assesses the potential use of cassava peel for the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) by Cupriavidus necator. A copolymer of P3HB-3HV was produced and processed into electrospun meshes of random and aligned microfibers, allowing the development of structures that can be applied in the context of tissue engineering. This work involved Manuela Fonseca, Frederico Ferreita and Teresa Cesário form BERG-IBB and has been done in collaboration with researchers from the University of Antioquia, Medellin-Colombia.

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Research on Valorisation of Macroalgae Wins "Mares Circulares" Award

Research on Valorisation of Macroalgae Wins "Mares Circulares" Award | iBB | Scoop.it

Teresa Cesário from BERG-iBB won one of the awards of "Mares Circulares", an iberian competition that supports projects that tackle the problem of marine waste and litter. The competition is part of the Mares Circulares wider initiative designed to preserve the oceans that was launched in 2018 by the Coca-Cola European Partners. The project submitted by Teresa is focused on the valorization of whole and residual macroalgae into bioplastics and protein ingredients. The competition was organized and coordinated by the Association Chelonia with the support of Liga para a Proteção da Natureza (LPN).

 

Photo: Underwater McMurdo Sound, NSF/USAP photo by Steve Clabuesch; Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

iBB's insight:

Congratulations Teresa!

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Patent on the Biological Production of Xilonic Acid  Awarded to iBB Researchers

Patent on the Biological Production of Xilonic Acid  Awarded to iBB Researchers | iBB | Scoop.it

A biological process for the production of xylonic acid (XA) from xylose or from xylose-rich lignocellulosic hydrolysates has been patented by BERG-iBB researchers Teresa Cesário, Manuela Fonseca and Maryna Bondar (PT 115970). The ability of the wild strain Paraburkholderia sacchari (previously classified as Burkholderia sacchari) DSM 17165 to produce xylonic acid from renewable and sustainable feedstocks is claimed. XA is a potential substitute for gluconic acid (GA), namely in the pharma industry, as a chelating agent, as a precursor of 1,2,4-butanetriol, polyamides and polyesters, as well as in the production of solvents, paints, adhesives and dyes. Moreover, XA, like GA, can be used as a retardant of the setting time of cement paste. XA productivities in the range 4.8 g/(L.h) to 7.1 g/(L.h) and yields between 89% e 100% were achieved, with XA titres of 360 to 390 g/L, using one single, non-pressurised stirred tank reactor operating in the fed-batch mode under dissolved oxygen concentrations higher than 10%  saturation.

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Twin Seminars on Soft Coral Microbiomes and Valorisation of Cellulosic Wastes

Twin Seminars on Soft Coral Microbiomes and Valorisation of Cellulosic Wastes | iBB | Scoop.it

The 3rd Edition of iBB seminars will start on the 13th May with short talks from Tina Keller Costa - "Bioactive compounds from soft coral microbiomes – new chances for blue growth?" and Teresa Cesário - "Circular economy: from cellulosic wastes to biochemical and biopolymers". Join us next monday (13h00 h, room VA.1, IST-Alameda) to learn more about Tina's and Teresa's research at BSRG and BERG.

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Research Scientist Position in Bioprocess Engineering is Open

Research Scientist Position in Bioprocess Engineering is Open | iBB | Scoop.it

A position is open at iBB to hire a doctorate researcher under the
scope of the FCT-funded AlgaePlas project. The selected candidate (PhD holder) will work on the development of bioprocesses involving bioreactors for the production of biopolymers and other high added value molecules from the carbohydrate fraction of macroalgae.The work will be performed at BERG-iBB under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Cesário. More information on the position and how to apply can be found here, under the acronym AlgaePlas. The application deadline is February 26th, 2019.

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Production of P(3HB), Xylitol and Xylonic Acid by Burkholderia sacchari

Production of P(3HB), Xylitol and Xylonic Acid by Burkholderia sacchari | iBB | Scoop.it
Lignocellulosic materials have been suggested as alternative sustainable carbon sources for bioproduction of biofuels and biomaterials. In a recent publication in New Biotechnology, BERG-iBB researchers led by Teresa Cesário and Manuela Fonseca, in collaboration with Catarina Almeida from ISCSEM and Conceição Oliveira from CQE-IST,  describe the efficient production of poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (P(3HB)) by Burkholderia sacchari using glucose-xylose mixtures that simulate different types of lignocellulosic hydrolysate. The production of xylitol and xylonic acid by the bacterium under specific substrate concentrations is also reported for the first time. Click on title to learn more.

Photo details: section of a poly-hydroxybutyrate filament, Neptilo, wikipedia, public domain.
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Xylonic Acid Production from Xylose by Paraburkholderia sacchari

Xylonic Acid Production from Xylose by Paraburkholderia sacchari | iBB | Scoop.it

Paraburkholderia sacchari has the capacity to produce xylonic acid and xylitol, compounds ranked in the top 30 high-value chemicals from biomass. In a recent paper in Biochemical Engineering Journal, Maryna Bondar, Manuela Fonseca and Teresa Cesário from BERG-iBB reveal the outstanding ability of this bacterium to metabolize D-xylose to xylonic acid. D-xylonic acid is a five-carbon sugar acid that can replace gluconic acid in several applications. The biotechnological production of D-xylonic acid is advantageous over gluconic acid because it uses xylose as carbon source. Xylose is a very abundant sugar in nature and only few native bacterial strains can metabolize it. Fed-batch cultivations in a single bioreactor attained xylonic acid titers of 390 g L-1 and a productivity of 7.7 g L-1 h-1. This simplified process can significantly affect process economics, potentiating its translation to an industrial scale.

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Smart Seaweed: Smart Valorization of Macroalgae

Smart Seaweed: Smart Valorization of Macroalgae | iBB | Scoop.it

Macroalgae are an emerging alternative source of various chemicals and materials due to their unique structure, biochemical composition and high photosynthetic rates. They are promising feedstocks for the sustainable supply of commodities and specialties for food, feed, materials and energy. BERG researchers are heading the project "Smart Seaweed: Smart Valorization of Macroalgae" that aims at (i) the development of new products of biotechnological origin such as fermented seaweed, bioplastics and ectoines from marine resources and (ii) the utilization of by-products of the sea industries. Check the project web site here.

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Upgrading the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste to Biodegradable Bioplastics

Upgrading the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste to Biodegradable Bioplastics | iBB | Scoop.it

The organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) accounts for approximately 30-40% of MSW in Europe. BERG-iBB researchers developed a process that uses this type of waste as a raw material or the production of the biodegradable biopolymer P(3HB). In a first step the complex carbohydrates in the waste are hydrolysed into simple monosaccharides. The hydrolysate is then used as a carbon source to feed and induce the bacterium Burkholderia sacchari to produce P(3HB). In order to overcome nutritional deficiencies and attain a significant polymer accumulation (58% g polymer/g CDW) the C/N ratio was adjusted and the hydrolysate was supplemented with minerals. This work demonstrates that an easily accessible waste can be transformed into valuable biodegradable bioplastics. The work was published in Bioresource Technology.

 

Photo details: municipal waste by OpenIDUser2, GFDL. 

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Grant Awarded to iBB for the Smart Valorization of Macroalgae

Grant Awarded to iBB for the Smart Valorization of Macroalgae | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "Smart Seaweed: Smart Valorization of Macroalgae" has just been awarded with 178 k€ by Fundo Azul  Smart Seaweed aims at (i) the development of new products of biotechnological origin such as fermented seaweed, bioplastics and ectoines from marine resources, i.e. macroalgae and marine bacteria and (ii) the utilization of by-products of the sea industries, namely Gelidium sesquipedale residues after agar-agar extraction. The project is headed by Teresa Cesário from BERG-iBB and involves two industrial partners (IBERAGAR and SPAROS) and one public Institute (IPIMAR). The proposal was submitted to the Blue Biotechnology call 5/2017 of Fundo Azul (Ministery of the Sea).

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Sustainable Bioplastics from Seaweed

Sustainable Bioplastics from Seaweed | iBB | Scoop.it

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biodegradable macromolecules produced as reserve materials by bacteria.  PHAs have the potential to replace the main polymers in the plastic market as long as price competitive production processes are developed. The goal of the project "AlgaePlas", which has recently been recommended for funding by FCT, is to use seaweed residues after hydrocolloid extraction, or whole seaweed with no current industrial applications, as novel sugar platforms for PHAs production by marine bacteria. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Industrial Biotechnology, is headed by Teresa Cesário from BERG-iBB and involves collaboration with the University of Minho. The proposal "AlgaePlas: Seaweed biorefinery for the upgrade of carbohydrates to sustainable bioplastics" was submitted in the context of the 2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants.

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Microbial Production of Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate co-4-hydroxybutyrate) from Wheat Straw Hydrolysates

Microbial Production of Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate co-4-hydroxybutyrate) from Wheat Straw Hydrolysates | iBB | Scoop.it

Researchers from BERG and Biotrend have reported for the first time the ability of Burkholderia sacchari to produce poly(3-hydroxybutyrate co-4-hydroxybutyrate) - P(3HB-co-4HB) - from xylose-rich wheat straw hydrolysates (WSH) using gamma butyrolactone (GBL) as precursor. In a joint publication in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, members from the two teams describe a fed-batch process that achieves high copolymer productivities (0.5 g/L.h) and 4HB incorporations (5.0 molar%) using WSH and GBL.. Due to their properties, polymers like P(3HB-co-4HB) may replace petrochemically produced bulk plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene. The fact that they are completely degradable to carbon dioxide and water through natural microbiological mineralization constitute additional advantages of PHB derivatives.

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