On 23 August, the International BioSC Symposium was held as a face-to-face event for the first time since 2019. The event at the Bonner Universitätsforum was well attended with around 140 guests, many of them from abroad. Four lecture sessions with national and international speakers covered a broad spectrum of integrated bioeconomy research. 25 posters, three of which received awards, provided further opportunities for discussion and networking. As in earlier years, the BioSC Symposium was a platform for inter- and transdisciplinary exchange.
Regionalisation as implementation path for the bioeconomy was the first topic of the symposium. Ludo Diels (formerly VITO, Belgium) reported on the role of the bioeconomy in the Green Deal and its implementation with the help of regional and interregional initiatives in the example of the Flanders region. Sandra Venghaus (RWTH Aachen/BioSC) presented a monitoring system for the identification of regional transformation pathways that captures regional specificities as well as perspectives of different stakeholders. Using case studies from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, Jorge Sellare (Centre for Development Research, University of Bonn) then explained the challenges for a sustainable and inclusive transition to the bioeconomy in South America.
The second presentation session on smart value chains in sustainable food and feed production was opened by Alexander Ellebrecht (ChainPoint GmbH), who explained the challenges and opportunities for food producers to control their supply chains regarding sustainability. Marco Löhrer (RWTH Aachen/BioSC) presented the recently launched BioSC project P3roLucas, which focuses on breeding, cultivation and cascade use of lupins. Andrés Zurita-Silva (Chilean Economic Development Agency CORFO) presented approaches for sustainable intensification of quinoa cultivation and the establishment of resilient value chains in Chile.
After a poster lunch of about two hours, which provided ample opportunity for discussion and networking, the afternoon presentations started with integrated processes for the production of high-value substances from biomass. Lene Lange (LL-Bioeconomy, Copenhagen) presented technologies for identifying new microorganisms and enzymes that are needed to utilise various residual streams as materials on a much larger scale than today. Dörte Rother (Forschungszentrum Jülich/BioSC) explained how the development of a hybrid process for the production of chiral amino alcohols and pharmaceutical agents from the BioSC FocusLab HyImPAct is being continued in the BioSC BoostFund MetaProcess. Manuel Ferrer (Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry, Madrid) reported on the development of new enzymes for new and more sustainable production processes.
Plastics and textiles in a circular bioeconomy were the focus of the last presentation session. Albrecht Läufer (BluCon GmbH, Cologne) presented a new process for the production of PLA from lignocellulosic biomass. Nick Wierckx (Forschungszentrum Jülich/BioSC) presented approaches for upcycling mixed plastic waste by developing bacterial strains that can hydrolyse different polymers and utilise a wide range of monomers. Finally, Jeroen van der Vlist (Senbis Group, Emmen, NL) spoke about the challenges of developing a marine degradable polymer for the textile industry that can replace PET.
This year's poster awards went to Stephan Schott-Verdugo, Forschungszentrum Jülich (“Continuous, stable processes for the sustainable enzymatic production of chiral amino alcohols integrating downstream processing”), Janine Macht, Universität Bonn (“Don’t forget the local people: Understanding differences in citizens’ acceptance of technologies supporting a sustainable bioeconomy”) and Marcel Mann, RWTH Aachen (“Production of a sustainable and tailor-made microbial palm oil substitute from agricultural residues”).
As in earlier years, the BioSC Symposium provided a platform for inter- and transdisciplinary exchange between academia, business, politics and administration. An International BioSC Symposium will take place again in 2023.
Photos: Forschungszentrum Jülich