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Team GENAB from Italy has won the 2022 edition of BIC’s European Biobased Student Innovation Challenge (BISC-E). During the final round, which was held virtually on 13 October 2022, Bisrat Bekele and Peter Sseguya presented their innovation, natural rubber from genetically modified black yeast to an online gathering of BIC members.
Editorial office / Brussels

The annual competition is part of BIC’s efforts to promote breakthrough innovation in the bio-based sector between some of Europe’s most promising university students. National heats take place in several European countries before the five finalists are selected by an expert jury.

During the final round, GENAB explained why black yeast – with its low nutrient requirements and thermotolerance – would be the ideal host for the production of ectopic rubber particles. Some 70% of rubber used in the global market is synthetic and not produced in an eco-friendly way. The remaining 30% comes from natural sources, which are finite. Using a fermentation process on the black yeast, GENAB has produced an innovative, bio-based rubber product that is sustainable, economically-viable and environmentally prudent. This opens up the possibility of black yeast becoming a new sustainable source of natural rubber.

Head of Human Capital & Stakeholder Relations at BIC, Nelo Emerencia highlighted the fact that the scores were so close indicates the high standard of entries in this year’s competition.

Read more on the BIC website.

Image: Team GENAB