Nature provides the material basis for a bioeconomy. Preventive and production-integrated environmental protection will therefore become even more important in a bioeconomy. Powerful analytical systems that can be used in industrial processes or in the field will provide information about soil, air and water quality. Environmental analytics and monitoring are crucial for the bioeconomy.
Until now, oceans have been the main focal point of plastic waste pollution. However, new studies reveal that rivers are major contributors to marine ecosystem pollution. Studies focusing on the distribution of plastic fragments in aquatic environments have found that microplastics can be ingested by animals and cause fatal damage when taken up in high quantities. A large-scale study commissioned by environmental authorities in Baden-Württemberg and four other German states analysed water samples from 25 rivers to gain an initial idea of the occurrence of microplastics in German inland waters. In addition, Dr. Natalie Orlowski from the University of Freiburg and her team are analysing microplastics pollution in the Dreisam River.
Biotensidon GmbH is on the up. Rhapynal is about to be placed on the market. The company is involved in a 100-million-euro joint venture and was nominated for the German Next Economy Award in 2016. Rhapynal has three components and offers virtually unlimited possibilities for application in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and many other sectors.
It’s a great idea: everyday products that can repair themselves. Although it’s still a pipedream, the foundations are already being laid in a series of investigations being carried out by Dr. Olga Speck from the University of Freiburg. Dr. Speck is a botanist who is studying wound-healing reactions in plants to try and find mechanisms that can be used as models for developing materials with “self-healing powers”.
Accidental oil spills such as those following oil disasters, on the ground at petrol stations or in car washing facilities need to be cleaned up as quickly as possible. However, conventional cleanup methods either cause secondary pollution or are not very effective. Researchers from the KIT in Karlsruhe have now developed an environmentally friendly process that can eliminate oil spills effectively. Nanofur is a material that imitates the fine hairs of aquatic ferns and is capable of absorbing large amounts of oil within a relatively short time.
Grapevines are treated with pesticides more frequently than any other crop. Peter Nick from the Botanical Institute at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is pursuing an ambitious goal: sustainable viticulture rather than toxins. Sustainable viticulture takes into account plants’ natural capacities of resistance. Nick uses the European Wild Grape, the ancestor of cultivated grapevine varieties, for his research as the plant is able to successfully fight off many pathogens.
Experts from various industries met in Stuttgart on 15th June 2016 to kick off the Special Interest Group (SIG) for Marketing, Communication, Ecobalance and Sustainability, which is the second of four SIGs that will be established under the auspices of the ”Akteursplattform Bioökonomie Baden-Württemberg”.
BBW ForWerts, the graduate programme within Baden-Württemberg’s strategic Bioeconomy Research Programme, offers PhD students a three-year interdisciplinary curriculum to work on their own research project and gain insights into other bioeconomy-related research priorities. The interdisciplinary approach, which also includes working with industrial partners and research institutions, provides students with the knowledge required for making the structural shift to a sustainable biobased economy and dealing with the associated challenges.
As in previous years, BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH participated in this year’s Hannover Messe, the world’s biggest industrial fair. With the USA as partner country and the lead theme ”Integrated Industry – Discover Solutions”, the 2016 trade fair attracted more than 190,000 visitors from around the world. From 25th to 29th April, visitors to hall 2 were able to discover biobased products and experience an economy that runs without fossil resources.