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The ALBA Synchrotron and IRTA establish a first scientific collaboration

Aerial photo of the ALBA Synchrotron
ALBA Synchrotron (source: ALBA)

Since last week, the ALBA Synchrotron (Barcelona) is analyzing the biochemical properties of a new biomaterial developed by researchers from IRTA’s Integral management of organic waste program.

These are melanin extracts that can be processed into nanoparticles obtained from extremophilic fungi (capable of growing in environments that are not conducive to life as we understand it) and are now being tested to absorb and immobilise heavy metals from contaminated water.

The technique used for these analyses is known as Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), which is carried out in the MIRAS lab at ALBA Synchrotron. This method allows to measure biochemical changes very accurately, which provides useful information to understand the behavior of these microorganisms and the melanin they contain when exposed to toxic levels of heavy metals such as arsenic and chromium.

This study is part of the doctoral thesis of the researcher Cristy Medina, and is carried out under the supervision of Francesc Prenafeta, head of the scientific program.

Photos of the processament of the new biomaterial
A-B: Mushroom cultivation
C-E: Different stages of the melanin extraction process