High school students, Beatriz Bernardo, Carolina Gomes and Francisco Aves, from Colégio Valsassina, were among the 12 finalists and won the best oral communication prize in the FCT NOVA Challenge competition, which took place on the 8th June at FCT NOVA. The three students had already won, with the same project, the 3rd prize António Ribeiro of the XIII Congresso Nacional Cientistas em Acção, in Estremoz on 19-21 April 2018. The work presented was focused on the use of forest residues for the production of bioplastics, a research project developed in the Microbial Ecology and Technology Lab at LAQV-REQUIMTE, in FCT NOVA, coordinated by Paulo Costa Lemos, principal investigator.
The project consists in optimizing the production process of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), a biodegradable plastic with a wide range of applications, including replacing its non- biodegradable equivalents of petrochemical source. “This is done by using renewable sources of carbon, as forest residues, together with the use of mixed microbial cultures (MMC). In this way we are contributing to the cleaning of Portuguese forests and valuing these residues at the same time”, explains Paulo Lemos.
Video of the project presentation (in portuguese only)