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The Polish Science Voice
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From the Publisher
June 29, 2012   
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Quality is the name of the game in today’s competitive food sector. The aim is tasty and healthy food, or healthy and tasty, if you prefer. At the same time food is expected to be produced as inexpensively as possible. This is a task for researchers—including Polish scientists equipped with funds under the European Union’s Innovative Economy Operational Program.

Who will benefit from their efforts, in addition to consumers? The economy as a whole will benefit, especially when it comes to the agri-food sector, because there will be closer collaboration with the research and development sector, says Prof. Jarosław Horbańczuk, director of the Polish Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding in Jastrzębiec, near Warsaw. “Scientists will support food producers with innovative solutions and help them implement these. An important part of this cooperation will be food testing services provided in accredited laboratories to agricultural producers and agri-food sector companies.”

Emilia Bagnicka, a scientist with a postdoctoral degree at the Jastrzębiec institute, adds, “New recipes and technologies will also help specialists produce healthy food. We hope we will manage to persuade producers to, if not turn around the entire production process, then at least launch a single production line that will make it possible to offer such healthier products to health-conscious consumers.”

Polylactide, aliphatic copolyesters and thermoplastic cellulose—these chemical names may sound like tongue twisters but they open the door to a new world of environmentally-friendly materials. In this issue of The Polish Science Voice, we report on a research project focusing on biodegradable fabrics—ones that are capable of completely breaking down in the environment and disappearing within less than six months, rather than over a hundred or even thousands of years, as in the case of traditional plastics, which additionally harm soil and water by soaking them with toxic substances.

The project in question is called Biogratex and is coordinated by the Polish Technology Platform for the Textile Industry, a research and development consortium led by the ŁódĽ University of Technology. As part of the project, a team of researchers has designed an innovative production line for the manufacturing of non-woven fabrics from biodegradable thermoplastic polymers.

“Biogratex is the first project of this kind being carried out in Poland on such a large scale,” says Prof. Izabella Krucińska of the ŁódĽ University of Technology, who is the coordinator of the project.

The Biogratex project was launched in 2008 under the EU’s Innovative Economy Operational Program. The total cost of the project is almost zl.36 million.
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