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Bioconversion of waste into bioplastics: PROMICON’s early career researcher wins the Madrid Prize Talento y Tecnología 2022

14 October 2022
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PROMICON is delighted to share that one of the project’s young minds, Marina Rodriguez of CIB-CSIC, has won the Madrid Prize Talento y Tecnologia 2022 for her outstanding master thesis on bioconversion of waste into bioplastics (PHA). 

Being supervised by Prof. Auxi Prieto, head of the Polymer Biotechnology group of CIB-MS, Marina has curated an extensive and detailed research, the abstract of which is presented below:

"Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) represent one of the alternatives with the greatest potential as substitutes for conventional plastics, based on sustainability and circular economy criteria. They are bio-based and biodegradable polymers that are synthesized as carbon and energy storage by different microorganisms like Pseudomonas putida. In the present work the culture medium and operational conditions were optimized for P. putida KT2440 in order to improve biomass formation and bioplastic accumulation, studying phosphorous limitation under discontinuous regime and using glucose as carbon source. It was observed that the decrease of the initial phosphate content in the culture medium increases the rate of PHA accumulation and production. In addition, as a side effect of bacterial metabolism, glucose assimilation reduces pH of the medium, which inhibits cell growth. Thus, the application of a pH control strategy is needed. Increasing the agitation speed reduces the operation time. This bioprocess was also conducted in a semicontinuous mode, applying a glucose and sodium octanoate co-feeding, which allowed to extend cell growth and to improve significantly PHA yield and productivity results. Finally, bioplastic isolation and purification assays were carried out to be environmentally respectful. It was concluded that additional extraction and precipitation steps were necessary to improve the PHA recovery yield."

The whole PROMICON team congratulates Marina on her scientific achievements and wishes her best of luck in all future endeavours!

Photo: Marina Rodriguez at the award ceremony at the Madrid Prize Talento y Tecnologia 2022.