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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Biodegradable plastic developed from thistle extract wins European innovation award

Beja, Jan.19,2022(Lusa)– A project to develop biodegradable plastic films based on extracts of the thistle plant has earned awards to researchers from the Centre for Agricultural and Agri-Food Biotechnology of the Alentejo (CEBAL), by a European innovation programme.
The project "CynaraMulch", by two researchers of the centre, wants to develop biodegradable plastic films based on thistle extracts (scientific name Cynara), as an alternative to plastics widely used by the agricultural sector.
The business idea won third place in the EIT Jumpstarter 2021 competition, in the raw materials category, in addition to winning the EIT Jumpstarter - X-KIC Prize, for the most multisectoral business idea, revealed Beja-based CEBAL.
With both awards, the CEBAL research team, consisting of Fátima Duarte and Teresa Brás, raised a support of 10,000 euros.
The awards "value the dedication and knowledge" that the team "has been creating in the research group in the last 10 years" and reinforce the "goal of internationalizing this line of research", considered Fátima Duarte.
"We will have our hands full with the first CEBAL start-up, the first of many, I hope," she added.
Plastics are widely used in agriculture due to their benefits in terms of "productivity" and "fruit quality", as well as in "greater efficiency in water use", but they are also a "source of microplastics, with great impact on water and soil".
The solution found by the two CEBAL researchers is "innovative" from the perspective of integrated appreciation of the thistle, with the development of new applications for this plant, and intends to reach farmers who aspire to contribute to agricultural and environmental sustainability.
The EIT Jumpstarter, an innovation support programme of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), promoted since 2007, is an "acceleration programme for innovative ideas with business potential", explained CEBAL.
In this edition, 548 teams participated, including the one from CEBAL, belonging to the research group of "Bioactive Compounds" which was one of the 42 selected for the final, held in December.
The European initiative aims to "find, promote and support innovation activities developed by researchers, companies and start-ups in the sectors of health, food, raw materials, energy, manufacturing and urban mobility," he added.
The strategic objective of the programme is to "create sustainable impact" in the countries of Central Eastern and Southern Europe, "driving innovation and entrepreneurship" in these regions.


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2022-01-20 10:31:00


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