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News Sustainable Solutions: Our Research Posters to Advance Environmental Science

Sustainable Solutions: Our Research Posters to Advance Environmental Science

International conferences and events play an important role in disseminating the valuable work conducted by SYMSITES. In this regard, our consortium presented enlightening research posters at the International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology and the European Bioeconomy Scientific Forum.

International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology

The 18th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology (CEST2023), held from August 30 to September 2, 2023 in Athens, Greece is a dynamic space where leading experts, scientists, entrepreneurs and public administration representatives can present research on current and emerging environmental issues. 

In this context, the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) had the opportunity to present a poster entitled: “Acclimation of microbial consortia on acidogenic effluents for enhanced production of polyhydroxyalkanoates”. The study, implemented in the frame of SYMSITES project, earned recognition by receiving a best poster award.  

The poster explained how Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) can address the global challenge of plastic pollution

Backgound: Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are microbial bioplastics that can potentially replace conventional petrochemical plastics, thereby contributing to the mitigation of plastic pollution. While various microorganisms, predominantly bacteria and cyanobacteria, have proven to be proficient PHAs producers from diverse carbon sources, the maintenance of pure cultures necessitates substantial energy inputs, thereby inflating the overall production costs. In recent years, emphasis has been placed on the production of PHAs from mixed microbial cultures (MMCs),  owing to their minimal cultivation requirements and their ability to metabolize various acidified wastes and wastewater as carbon sources.

Aim of the study: To develop and evaluate MMCs of PHAs producers, using acidogenic effluents (a mixture of volatile fatty acids, sugars, and lactate) generated from a hydrogen-generating bioreactor processing food, induced at different degree of nutritional stress.

Approach: Acclimation was conducted under sequential carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) limitation in draw fill reactors (DFRs), with acidogenic effluents serving as the C source in the C phase and ammonium chloride solutions as the N source in the N phase.Two DFRs were concurrently operated with distinct carbon-to-nitrogen ratios (C/N) with subsequent assessments of operational efficiency and microbial composition. Batch experiments were then conducted with the acclimated MMCs and with different initial substrate concentrations and C/N ratios. This approach revealed that the feeding strategy during acclimation resulted in the domination of different microbial genera of Betaproteobacteria ,and greatly affected the yields and production rates of PHAs at batch mode, with the highest obtained yield exceeding 0.7 g PHAs/ g microbial biomass.

Research Team

Elianta KORA, Environmental Scientist, MSc, PhD candidate, University of Patras, Greece

Georgia ANTONOPOULOU, Chemical engineer, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Patras, Greece

Ioanna NTAIKOU, Biologist, Chemical engineer, MSc, PhD, Senior Research Associate, NTUA, Greece

Gerasimos LYBERATOS, Chemical engineer, PhD, Professor, NTUA, Greece

European Bioeconomy Scientific Forum

The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), hosted the European Bioeconomy Scientific Forum 2023 – EBSF2023 in Vienna, Austria, from September 6 to 8, 2023.

The objective of the scientific forum was to promote the transition towards a sustainable bioeconomy. The event brought together scientists, experts, policymakers, industry representatives, youth and other stakeholders from across Europe to share experiences, discuss challenges, and identify opportunities for advancing the bioeconomy transformation in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The Symsites project is willing to contribute to the European bioeconomy landscape by producing energy and fertilizer from wastewater. For this reason, Ferdinand Hummel, member of the Biogas working group at the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, presented the poster entitled “Combining energy positive wastewater treatment with nutrient recovery”. The research not only showcased the SYMSITES Project, but also shed light on the Austrian EcoSite, thus contributing significantly to the discourse on sustainable bioeconomy solutions.

Discover the posters