ICGEB took part in the events forSHARPER – European Researchers’ Night on 30 September 2022 in Trieste.
Traditionally a part of the ERN events, this year, ICGEB’s Dr. Corrado Guarnaccia, Biotechnology Development Group, ran a workshop at the Science Centre in Trieste on “Hunting for Microplastics”. Using a simple water pump and inexpensive, easy-to-obtain materials, he demonstrated the quantity of microplastics present in locally collected seawater. “The demonstration led to a lively discussion on the microplastics present in our environment, in food and in cosmetic products, as well as the recently introduced measures to limit the introduction of microplastics in these”. Dr. Guarnaccia tells us.
He further explained: “a recent UN Environment Programme report states that every cubic kilometre of the ocean contains on average of 63,320 particles of microplastics, with notable regional differences, but totalling over 14 million tons. This problem is also extending to bottled and tap water. It is estimated that we ingest approximately 5 grams of microplastics a week, mostly by consuming potable water and seafood.”
To fight environmental problems related to plastics, ICGEB researchers work to understand the interaction between these polymers (the molecular structure of these substances) and microorganisms, such as marine isolates of the Kocuria and Bacillus geni) that have developed strategies to survive and break down plastics.
Link to the full Programme