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Together with its Brazilian sister organization FAPESP, NWO awards grants to six collaborative projects in the Biobased Economy program. NWO invests 1.7 million euros to finance research in the Netherlands.
Editorial office / The Hague

The sustainable use of biomass as a raw material is central to the Biobased Economy. The Netherlands is traditionally a forerunner in agricultural research, ecology, chemistry and biotechnology. Brazil, with its large acreage of agricultural land, is strongly committed to a transition to a Biobased Economy, which requires a lot of research and development.

The expertises in the two countries complement each other perfectly. In the coming years, Dutch and Brazilian researchers will work together on scientific and technological challenges that contribute to a Biobased Economy for the future.

Awarded projects

Biomass contains the carbon required for making sustainable chemical building blocks and fuels, but also contains too much oxygen. Prof. dr. Harry Bitter (Wageningen University) and dr. Cristiane Rodella (Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials) aim to deoxygenate biomass using chemical catalysts that contain readily available metals.

Dr. ir. H.W.M. Hilhorst (Wageningen University and Research) and dr. Edvaldo da Silva (São Paulo State University) work together to better understand chlorophyll degradation in seeds and identify the main regulators of this phenomenon, which is known as the ‘green seed problem’. This problem is induced by climate change and applies to species such as soy bean.

50% of newly emerging plant diseases are caused by viruses. Dr. ir. Richard Kormelink (Wageningen University) and dr. Juliana Freitas-Astua (Embrapa) collaborate to better understand the molecular biology and ecology of plant-virus-vector relationships, as a basis for the development of integrated virus management strategies.

Prof. dr. ir. R.F. Hanssen (Delft University of Technology) and prof. dr. Paulo Magalhães (University of Campinas) will employ satellite remote sensing data and precision agriculture analysis to support the Brazilian Low Carbon Agriculture program from a water use efficiency, crop productivity and soil quality point of view.

Substituting fossil fuel based plastics by biobased and bio-degradable alternatives could positively impact the environment. Dr. ing. Aljoscha Wahl (Delft University of Technology) and prof. dr. Jonas Contiero (São Paulo State University) propose a technological change for the biotechnological production of polyhydroxy-alkanoates, a precursor for bioplastics.

The project of dr. Dirk-Jan Scheffers (University of Groningen) and dr. Henrique Ferreira (São Paulo State University) focuses on the control of the bacterial pathogen that causes citrus canker. The aim is to synthesize biodegradable antibacterials from agricultural waste to combat this disease.

Source: NWO