The CCC symposium on December 1st was organized in Groningen and provided an opportunity for learning about a wide range of topics, from bacteria, through carbohydrates, to bioplastics. Approximately 100 researchers and scientists from different companies and universities, also from abroad, attended the symposium. Prof. dr. Gert-Jan Euverink chaired the morning session, while in the afternoon, prof. dr. Henk Schols kindly took over the chairing of the event.
In the morning, dr. Tjeerd Jongsma from the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology gave an interesting presentation titled: “Fascinating?!”. In his lecture, he introduced the Fascinating program, which is a nature-inclusive and circular system to make the agriculture of the future a reality.
Prof. dr. Walter Gerrits is professor in Animal Nutrition at the Animal Nutrition Group of Wageningen University. He discussed the impact of protein fermentation on intestinal health and function based on studies conducted at levels varying from cells and organoids to in vivo studies with pigs.
Dr. João Sousa is the Technology Development Lead from the scale-up company Paques Biomaterials BV. He introduced us in the world of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), which are natural polymers produced by microbes living all around us and have similar properties to the regular plastics used nowadays.
Before the lunch break prof. dr. Gert-Jan Euverink informed us of an emerging new organization with the ambition to create and foster national and European innovation programs resulting from the collaboration of TiFN, SFI, PCC, and CCC. The new organization will bring together food and feed industry partners and knowledge institutes.
After lunch, Dr. Thomas Boltje, associate professor chemical biology at the Radboud University, opened the afternoon session with his speech. He presented how to use carbohydrate chemistry to prepare biobased surfactants. In addition, he discussed the use of carbohydrate chemistry to pinpoint the allergenicity of complex oligosaccharides.
Dr. Mirjam Kabel is associate professor Lignocellulose Biochemistry at the Laboratory of Food Chemistry of Wageningen University. She showed us the action of Lytic Polysaccharide MonoOxygenases (LPMOs) and discussed novel methodologies and their application to discover and explore the diversity of this enigmatic group of enzymes.
Prof. dr. Joana Falcao Salles is a full professor in Microbial Community Ecology at the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life sciences (GELIFES) at the University of Groningen. During her talk, she discussed approaches where they use ecological principles to increase the sustainability of agricultural practices. E.g., identifying microbial interactions surrounding plant roots and their potential use in breeding strategies and the direct engineering of soil microbial communities to improve the survival of beneficial microbes.
Prof. dr. Gert Folkerts works at the Medical Faculty, the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, and the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences. He showed that non-digestible oligosaccharides (NDOs) can exert antibacterial activity on several bacterial strains in vitro and some NDOs even act synergistically with conventional antibiotics.
Prof. dr. Klaas Nico Faber is professor in Experimental Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Medical Center Groningen. He presented his challenges and successes in developing the Human oxygen-Bacteria anaerobic (HoxBan) system and how they use this now in testing microbiome-targeted therapies, including non-digestible carbohydrates.
The day was closed by drinks and bites which was yet another opportunity to network and socialize with the fellow scientists.
We look back at a fruitful CCC symposium and looking forward to the next conference in the spring of 2023.