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Gaining bioactive compounds out of Citrus fruit waste: Fellow of the Humboldt Foundation researches at Jacobs University


February, 27 2018

When Citrus fruits are processed about half of the biomass remains as waste. But this waste contains valuable natural substances, it can be used as raw material for biomaterial production. At Jacobs University the Biologist Dr. Alejandra Omarini tries to find new ways to recycle waste products. The Argentine holds a Georg Forster Research Fellowship by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Fungi play a very important role in the decomposition of biomass or in energy cycling process. As a model organism and a novelty Dr. Omarini uses the edible fungus P. sapidus to produce bioactive compounds. Her research will promote not only the sustainability of the Citrus industry by the incorporation of the concept of Bioeconomy to recycle side-streams by fermentation processes using microorganisms, but also to develop new strategies for compounds production in order to increase their availability to be used in different sectors like Food, Cosmetic, Pharmaceuticals and Agrochemical.

Dr. Alejandra Beatriz Omarini, who is attached to the workgroup of Marcelo Fernandez-Lahore, Professor of Biochemical Engineering at Jacobs University for 18 month,
received her Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at National University of General San Martín in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She had two postdoctoral trainings, first in Spain in the Microbiology and Genetics Group at the Public University of Navarra and then in the Institute of Food Chemistry, Applied Chemical Centre at Leibniz Hannover University, Germany. Bevor coming to Jacobs University she worked as Staff Investigator (Researcher) at Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra y Ambientales de La Pampa (INCITAP), La Pampa, Argentina.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supports intercultural dialogue between German and foreign scientists through academic exchange. The fellowships are highly prestigious. Through the Georg Forster Research Fellowship the foundation backs postdoctoral students in all disciplines from developing countries and emerging economies apart from China and India.