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Innovation at the Institute of Microbiology Paulo de Góes

By Flavia Lima do Carmo
Department of General Microbiology
Specialist in Biotechnological Innovation from the innovation unit of UFRJ

Science and technology have become part of the everyday life of Brazilians through innovation. Derived from the Latin term innovare, the word innovation means to renew or introduce a novelty, that is, to convert an original idea into something useful to society. Thus, technological innovation can be defined as the application of new knowledge, which results in new products, processes, services or even significant improvements in already existing products/services. Today, the ability to innovate is seen as a determining factor of success in a globalized world; and consequently, there is no way to become an innovator without giving due importance to the theme.

This prominent role of innovation can be seen through the work performed at the Paulo Góes Microbiology Institute, where the canine Leishmaniasis vaccine, developed by Professor Clarisa Palatnik of the General Microbiology Department, obtained a patent in 2005, and became the first UFRJ technology licensed to a company. Another example is the "mosquito-trap" technology, developed by professor Malouri Cabral, that gained extensive repercussion in the media as a simple and low cost way to fight the proliferation of dengue. Also the work developed by Professor Alane Vermelho in the cosmetics field deserves mention: new protein co-hydrolysates, such as the keratin hydrolysates, were obtained from microbial enzymes.

Food technologies such as roe and probiotic juices developed by Professor Marco Miguel of the Department of Medical Microbiology can also be highlighted. In the diagnostics area Professor Maite Vaslin from the Department of Virology, with her team, developed a molecular test for the in vitro identification and diagnosis of the virus responsible for the blue cotton disease (CLRDV). In environmental microbiology Professor Andrew Macrae and his team developed an antifungal composition to control fungi in agriculture.

The use of lemon grass oil or its main monoterpene constituent, citral, to control biocorrosion caused by the growth and formation of sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) biofilm was also developed by a group of professors from the Institute of Microbiology (Prof. Celuta Alvino, Prof. Daniela Alvino, Prof. Ulyses Lins, Prof. Fernanda Abreu and Prof. Lucy Seldin). Finally, in the Microbial Molecular Ecology Laboratory, professors Alexandre Rosado and Raquel Peixoto are developing bioremediation products for damaged environments.

These are just a few examples of innovation as practical applications that have resulted from a dynamic process of research, implementation, and combination of ideas generated at the Institute of Microbiology. More than this, it is in fact a significant set of conquests that confirm the need to continue developing an innovative culture within the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

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