Mycotoxins: a major issue

Mycotoxins are small compounds, which consist of by-products of fungal metabolism, and that can be found in various food consumables of our diet. When ingested, these chemical substances may cause various diseases and, in extreme cases, the death of contaminated individuals. Therefore, it seems to be essential to develop an easy and effective method that enables the detection of some of these toxins in our body. In order to tackle this issue, this project’s main purpose was to create a non-invasive, easy-to-use and 3D printed kit, which is able to detect the presence of a biomarker of Aflatoxin B1 (a type of mycotoxin) – entitled AKR7A3 – in human urine samples. The detection procedure chosen for the kit is similar to a Membrane Based Antibody Array, a colorimetric procedure.

From Waste to Bioplastic

We produced bioplastic sustainably from natural materials that are not very useful nowadays, namely coffee dregs, dried leaves, annual plants, acorns, lupine seed peels and acacia seeds and leaves. Promoting a circular economy, from rice grains discarded by large industries, we produced a bioplastic that can be used in the manufacture of packaging and biofilters capable to remove heavy metals in aqueous solution. We also produced bioplastic from surplus cooked rice in order to combat food waste. We used commercial glycerin, but also glycerin in excess of biodiesel production from used cooking oil. The bioplastics obtained are flexible and resistant. We performed mechanical and biodegradation tests, too. We also made bioplastic articles, such as bags and packaging.

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