FEMS Microbiology Letters Poster Prize: Bruno Serafim

We send our congratulations to Bruno Serafim, who won the best poster prize at the 19th International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries (RRB23), sponsored by FEMS Microbiology Letters.

RRB23 was held in Riga, Latvia from 31 May until 2 June 2023, where Bruno and his co-author Patrícia Reis presented in the winning poster titled “Exopolysaccharide production by the marine bacterium Alteromonas macleodii Mo169 using fruit pulp waste as sole carbon source”.

We interviewed both Bruno and Patrícia, answers which you can read below.



What are your current positions?

I am currently a research assistant in the Biochemical Engineering group at NOVA School of Science and Technology (Portugal). I got my bachelor’s degree at Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal) and master’s degree at NOVA School of Science and Technology. My master’s degree was on the production of antibiotics and biopolymers using a natural producer bacterium, so working on the production of an exopolysaccharide was a natural step.”- Bruno Serafim

I am a Junior Researcher at the FCT NOVA Biochemical Engineering group (Portugal). I hold a BSc in Biochemistry and a MSc in Biotechnology. Last December, I finished a PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. During these years, I participated in 6 projects with industry and academic partners, including 4 European projects. My expertise is in the areas of Industrial Biotechnology and Biomaterials, wherein I focus on the production and characterization of bioactive exopolysaccharides produced by bacteria and microalgae, including the assessment of their biological properties, and the development of new bioactive materials based on these biopolymers.” – Patrícia Reis


Could you describe the research your poster covered?

The poster we took to the conference was a published work about the production of an exopolysaccharide by the marine bacterium Alteromonas macleodii Mo169 using fruit pulp waste as sole carbon source. For this work, culture medium optimization trials were performed, followed by exopolysaccharide production in bioreactor. After production, the polymer was characterized for molecular mass distribution and sugar composition.

With this work, we were able to demonstrate for the first time the potential of the above-mentioned marine bacteria to use a waste not only for growth, but more importantly, for the production of a very interesting biomaterial. We hope that the results obtained in this work will encourage further research focused on the development of new production techniques using residues that appear to be of no value, as well as further work with marine bacteria that are still largely unknown and may provide new compounds of high scientific value.” – Bruno and Patrícia


What do you hope to focus your research on in the future?

Since much of the waste that we all produce nowadays can be used by many bacteria to produce value-added products with applications in various fields, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in the future and develop work related to waste valorisation. I believe that using bacterial cultures as a platform to convert waste into such products could be one of the key technologies to ensure the sustainability of the planet.” – Bruno

Considering the enormity of the marine biosphere, I sincerely believe that the work developed is just a small achievement of the true potential of marine microorganisms as sources of bioactive polysaccharides with improved properties. Hence, I am highly motivated to dedicate my career to the discovery of new high-value biopolymers of marine origin, and to their development into marketable innovative products.” – Patrícia

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