Maria Ascensão Reis, leader of the Bioeng-pt Laboratory at UCIBIO, affiliated research lab at NOVA.id.FCT, is one of the members of the consortium of the European project YPACK that intends to create bioplastics from waste coming from the food industry like whey. The consortium of the project, funded by the European Union, comprises several universities, companies and research organisations in Portugal, including the University of Minho, the Continente hypermarkets in addition to NOVA.id.FCT.
Maria Ascensão Reis explained to the newspaper Expresso that “we needed a raw material with little value and, therefore, with a very low cost. We chose whey because it exists in large quantities and the production of cheese is common to almost all European countries. “Bacteria feed on whey to produce the polymers, agglomerates of molecules that function as the basis of bioplastics. The methodology was developed in the laboratory” on a pilot scale and we passed the technology to a Belgian partner to produce it on a semi-industrial scale”, adds Maria Ascenção Reis.