On February 24th, we held the first review meeting, for the evaluation of the first 18 months of RECOVER.
The project officer, Chloe Johnson form CBE-JU, chaired the overall review. Two external experts, Carmen Fernández Ayuso from the Centro Tecnológico del Calzado y Plástico (CETEC), and Francesca Paradisi from the University of Bern, held Q&A session at the end of each work package presentation.
The hard work of the consortium during the reporting period was focused on the definition of the Agri-food waste plastic (AWP) types and the logistic approach, selecting the organisms and enzymes for AWP degradation/conversion, and starting the upscaling for their combined production. These activities have provided the first datasets for LCA and RECOVER large-scale implementation.
The candidate organisms/enzymes and the basic conditions required to degrade the AWP types have been selected. Four microbial combinations (consortia) showed promising capability to use the full range of plastic polymers as carbon source, especially LLDPE/LDPE.
Two novel enzymes exhibited a great activity and stability (thermo) on LLDPE, and further homologues that degrade LLDPE and PS are being synthesised.
Earthworm species for soil bioremediation and vermicomposting scenarios survived and induced plastic-degrading enzymatic activity in the presence of plastic. Three insects that ingest the plastics were selected at this stage, whereas another was kept for application in cascade approach. Finally, microorganisms compatible with each earthworm and insect have been identified.
Now it is time to scale-up ex and in situ degradation of municipal and rural AWP and to validate the value-added downstream products
The best is yet to come!