Business Spotlight 29th March

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As part of our ongoing mission to support UK businesses with innovation and funding, our business spotlight section contains news and resources which your company may find useful.

The Biodegradable Planter Helping To Save Forests

Deforestation has multiple impacts on our planet. A few of the main issues include climate change from the increase in greenhouse gases, adverse effects on biodiversity, and soil erosion. The vast majority of deforestation occurs in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil, precisely where two passionate brothers have invented a biodegradable planter to help tackle the crisis. The rate of deforestation here is exponential; from 2019 to 2020, forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon totalled 9,205 square kilometres (3.554 square miles), an increase of 34.5% over the previous comparative period. The regeneration of rainforests manually is highly costly and time-consuming. This innovative product called ‘Nucleario’ is a device that takes care of the seedlings and maintains them all by itself, without the constant need for human maintenance.

The Nucleario Biodegradable Ring

The two brothers have invented a seed planter that mimics the rainforest’s own species, the bromeliad’s, with its capacity to retain water to help the saplings grow. This product protects the seedlings from non-native grass and species whilst controlling the release of rainwater. With a thoughtful, innovative design, the device includes holes to provide a water path to pass through, where it will meet a tissue that transfers the water to the soil. There are currently nearly 300 prototypes being tested across Brazil, and the two brothers have won the top prize at a 2018 global design challenge.

Bacteria Found By The International Space Station (ISS) Could Help ‘Space Farmers’

A bacteria recently found by the International Space Station (ISS) has shown that the strains may possess “biotechnologically useful genetic determinants” for the growing of crops in space. This is a massive breakthrough for space farming, presenting the potential in how we can grow and maintain a sustainable environment; that can be used to generate oxygen, purify the air, and recycle wastewater.

The Bacteria

Researchers from NASA shared the four strains of bacteria belonging to the family Methylobacteriaceae. With one strain being identified as Methylorubrum rhodesianum, the other three were previously undiscovered and belonged to a novel species. They described this species as a ‘rod-shaped, motile bacteria’ that presents genetic analysis showing them to be closely related to Methylobacterium indicum.

The Future

With NASA on a mission to take humans to the surface of Mars, understanding human and plant pathogens are significant. They have released that further experimental biology will prove that this bacteria is revolutionary, along with additional research into how we can promote plant growth under the such intense and demanding conditions that Mars holds. 

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