Scolarship code CU6.20

Bioproducts for ecosystems protection and human health (BREATH)

  • Reference person
  • Host University/Institute
    Università di Camerino
  • Internship
  • Research Keywords
    Ecosystems protection
    Bioactive compounds
    environment decontamination
  • Reference ERCs
    LS9_4 Microbial biotechnology and bioengineering
    LS8_12 Microbial ecology and evolution
    PE5_7 Biomaterials synthesis
  • Reference SDGs
    GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
    GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
    GOAL 13: Climate Action


Bioproducts from natural resources implies environmental exploitation that leads to loss of biodiversity, food insecurity and climate changes (10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.12.048). Natural resources exploitation can be avoided by finding alternative sources of bioproducts.Marine organisms living in extreme environments have capacity in biosynthesizing novel bioactive compounds, which are potentially useful for pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, and biotechnological applications (doi: 10.3390/md18120657). The goal of this PhD project is to obtain sustainable bioproducts from bacteria. New Antarctic bacterial strains are available in the laboratory of the Reference person. Some metabolic features of these Antarctic microorganisms are already known:• these bacteria can be used in bioremediation (granted patent n. PCT/EP2020/071193). • these bacteria can produce siderophores, biosurfanctants (granted patent n PCT/EP2020/071193) and biocellulose from waste (patents PCT/EP2021/086747 and PCT/EP2021/086800).The PhD candidate will work on: 1- characterization of the enzymes involved in bioproduct synthesis; 2- biomolecules characterization by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and UV-Vis spectroscopy; 3- protocols optimization for the biosynthesis and definition of potential uses; 4- possible application of these bacteria in recycle of food waste.

Suggested skills:

Basic skills in microbiology, molecular biology, biotechnology, and biochemistry.

Research team and environment

Sandra Pucciarelli is a Senior researcher (with habilitation) in the field of environmental adaptation, molecular biology and biotechnology. The team is composed by young researchers with skills in microbiology and bioinformatics. The research group can also rely on international collaborators: Prof Pietro Liò (University of Cambridge) and prof. Ilidio Correia (Universidade da Beira Interior).The research group is operating at the School of Bioscience and Veterinary Medicine of the University of Camerino (UNICAM). The University has a strong commitment to doctoral training and internationalization.