The 3rd International BioSc Symposium with around 170 participants took place in Bonn on November 12th and 13th, 2018. National and international speakers from academia and industry presented current results and new developments for a sustainable bioeconomy. In addition to the lectures, 48 posters – three of them honored - provided connecting points for intensive scientific discussions.
In her welcoming speech, Undersecretary Andrea Noske from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research emphasized the importance of internationally coordinated strategies for the implementation of a sustainable bioeconomy and reported on the current revision of the National Research Strategy for Germany. In the opening session, Michael Carus (nova-Institute, Hürth) gave a current overview of the worldwide production and market share of bio-based plastics and presented a case for the joint promotion of plastics produced from renewable carbon sources such as biomass, recycled material and CO2. Prof. Pierre Monsan (INSA Toulouse) introduced the "Toulouse White Biotechnology" Center, an association of public and private partners promoting research and technology transfer in the development of sustainable production processes based on renewable resources. The opening session was completed by Thomas D` Agnone (Creapaper GmbH), who reported on an innovative and successful business model, specifically to establish grass as raw material for the paper industry.
The program of the following day included three focal themes. In the session "Socioeconomic Perspectives within a Sustainable Bioeconomy", Dr. Neus Escobar (University of Bonn) showed examples of how the increased demand for bio-based raw materials is influencing land use and the emission of greenhouse gases and which policy measures could be suitable for ensuring the sustainability of the bioeconomy. Prof. Dr. Thomas Dietz (University of Münster) presented a study which compared 41 national bioeconomy strategies with regard to supporting and regulating control measures. Dr. Chad Baum (University of Bonn) presented a study using Group Concept Mapping as a method to identify obstacles and success factors for the acceptance and commercialization of a new technology – synthetic biology.
In the session "Innovations for Plant Production and Resource Management", Prof. Iain Donnison (Aberystwyth University, UK) discussed the suitability and choice of different grasses for industrial use and presented data on efforts to breed Miscanthus. Dr. Sylvia Schrey (Forschungszentrum Jülich) presented research results about a cultivation strategy for Sida hermaphrodita on marginal soils in which fermentation residues from biogas plants are used as fertilizer. The lecture of Prof. Dr. Shawn Mansfield (University of British Columbia, CA) dealt with plantation trees as raw material for cultivation in the bioeconomy. He presented work about the cultivation of poplars with modified cell wall formation or modified lignin composition.
In the session "Green Value Chains – Processes and Products from Biomass", Dr. Stephan Noack (Forschungszentrum Jülich) presented a new hybrid process consisting of microbial transformations, enzymatic reactions and chemical synthesis steps that facilitate the production of a wide range of different chemical substances from lignocellulosic biomass. PD Dr. Ulf Prüße (Thünen Institute, Braunschweig) presented methods for the production of high-quality chemicals made of such diverse raw materials as wheat chaff, rapeseed meal or birch wood. Dr. Timo Johannes Koch (Savannah Ingredients GmbH / Pfeifer & Langen GmbH & Co. KG, Elsdorf) presented a method for the production of allulose, a naturally occurring sugar that is not metabolized and is suitable as calorie-free sugar substitute.
A total of 48 posters were presented and discussed in a poster session on the three thematic sessions. Three of them were honored for their scientific results, interdisciplinarity and quality of presentation. The winners of the poster awards are Gabriel Ponzoni Frey (Center for Development Research, University of Bonn) with the topic "Impacts of soy and infrastructure expansion in the Brazilian Amazon", André Krause (IBG-2 Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich) with the topic "The effect of elevated CO2 on photosynthetic performance of winter wheat" and Alina Hermann (Inorganic Chemistry, RWTH Aachen University) with the topic "A novel zinc bisguanidine complex for the polymerization of cyclic esters", which dealt with the production of biodegradable plastics made of renewable resources.
The symposium again demonstrated the need for comprehensive cooperation to establish a sustainable bioeconomy and provided a platform for interdisciplinary exchange. The 4th International BioSc Symposium will take place on November 18th & 19th, 2019 in Cologne.