Photo: Alexander Wolf

Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Manuel Ibañez has been honored with the Bioeconomy Innovation Award following his participation in the Second Interdisciplinary Postdoc Event at TUM Campus Straubing on November 29. Dr. Ibañez, in collaboration with Dr. Yvonne Gmach (Biogenic Polymers) and Dr. Viktoriia Shkola (Sustainable Economic Policy), presented a project proposal for designing and testing a proof of concept for a biofilm reactor. This innovative reactor contains a consortium of two microorganisms with the capability of reducing the concentration of diclofenac in synthetic wastewater to levels equal to or below the European water quality standards.

The growing concern over diclofenac toxicity in water has become a significant global issue, including in Germany. The presence of the anti-inflammatory drug in water has raised environmental and toxicological concerns due to its potential adverse effects on aquatic organisms.

The Bioeconomy Innovation Award, which includes a €5,000 prize, was granted in recognition of the outstanding potential for impact of Dr. Ibañez and his team’s proposal. The awarded funds will be used to obtain preliminary results in 2024, advancing the research and contributing to potential solutions for mitigating diclofenac pollution in water systems.