The Molecular Biomedicine Laboratory (LBM) of the Institute of Technology and Research (ITP) has been excelling in research in the field of industrial biotechnology. With a focus on microorganisms, fungi, and bacteria, the researchers have been working on projects with innovative characteristics aimed at finding solutions for environmental problems and the development of new materials.
In an interview, Dr. Lucila Hernández, a researcher at the institute, explained some of the objectives. "We isolate microorganisms, fungi, and bacteria from environments such as mangroves in the region to investigate their biotechnological potential. One of the paths we follow is their use in the bioremediation of environments contaminated with pesticides. Another line of research is the production of nanomaterials, using microorganisms and associated residues produced here in the Sergipe region," said the researcher.
Additionally, to identify the microorganisms, they conduct molecular biology work, including DNA extraction and sequencing. "We perform proteomic analyses to better evaluate the metabolites that these microorganisms are producing and to assess the proteins," added Lucila.
Dr. Sona Arun Jain, a professor at UNIT and a mentor to students in the Industrial Biotechnology graduate program, also spoke about the work conducted in the laboratory. "We are also working on pigment production. Together with the students, we isolate bacteria that produce pigments, and now we are analyzing what these pigments are. Can they be used in the food industry or even as antimicrobials? However, to reach this stage, we still need to know what these pigments are, how we can improve their production, and only then can we arrive at their application," explained the researcher.
Among the graduate students working in the laboratory, the works of Isabella Miranda and Esther Santana stand out. Isabella explained that her thesis project consists of obtaining a film for the food industry, which is produced from coconut fiber. "In this way, we will be adding value to coconut fiber and developing a film for application in the food industry. This idea came about in collaboration with my advisor, Professor Lucila when we observed that coconuts themselves are often improperly discarded, causing environmental impact. We decided to add value to this fiber," said the doctoral student.
Esther Santana, also a doctoral student, is working on the development of DNA biosensors for the food industry. "Currently, in my doctoral research, I am working on the development of DNA biosensors for the food industry. The main objective of our work is to use resources from the Northeast region and make them applicable to the industry. I feel very grateful to be able to contribute to science and the Northeast region through the research conducted at LBM at ITP," she said.
One of the focuses of the projects carried out at LBM is to obtain a product at the end of each master's and doctoral program. With this perspective, the team of researchers at ITP continues to develop innovative and applicable research, contributing to science and the Northeast region of Brazil.