Biotechnology to the North Region

Research linked to the vine and green wine one of the ongoing programs in the Biotechnology area of the University of Minho

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Much of the vitality that the University of Minho, created in 1974, gives evidence today, goes exactly by turning to the outside and wanting to be a pole of development in a vast northern area. It is therefore necessary to refer in more detail to some aspects of Biotechnology research at the University of Minho, its degree in Biological Engineering. In 1991 will leave the first graduates in this area, who have as coordinator prof. Engº Luis Melo.

The degree in Biological Engineering at the University of Minho prepares engineers for industries where biological and chemical processes predominate: food industries, fermentative or not, chemical and related industries, pharmaceutical industry, waste treatment industries.

The 5-year course started in October 1986 with the Chemical and Biological Technologies and Processes Branch, and the Industrial-Microbiology Branch is scheduled to be launched in 1991. The two branches provide an essentially similar engineering training, although the First be more directed to the design and control of the manufacturing equipment and the second to the laboratory studies and analyzes. The "numerus clausus" is currently 30.

In the structure of the course, after the first year in which the fundamental basic sciences (Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry) predominate, the two great supports of Biotechnology training - Biological Sciences and Chemical Engineering - emerge in the 2nd and 3rd years.

Specialization in the 4th and 5th years results from the convergence of these two vectors, through the development of topics such as Fermentation Technologies and Biological Product Purification, and Enzymatic Engineering, Water and Industrial Effluents Treatments, Genetic Engineering and Control Automatic Manufacturing Processes. Students can also choose from a range of optional subjects focusing on the Food Industry (Oenology, Dairy, Food Quality Control, etc.), Energy Management and Pollution. In the last semester of the course, students undertook an industrial internship, guided by University professors and by industry technicians.

Biotechnology: external link
In the field of research in Biotechnology, without prejudice to other projects, already under development, the objective, at this early stage - Eng. Luis Melo - "was to concentrate efforts on sectors of recognized importance in the development of the region where the University is located. Inserted ".

The research and development programs which have been in place since 1984 now have two major strengths: problems relating to vine and green wine and environmental issues, in particular the treatment and recovery of industrial and domestic sewage by road Biological.

There is also a project of interest for the identification of elements that cause diseases in plants (including the vine), entitled "Biochemical characterization of nematodes.

The other group of projects is concerned with the environmental problems resulting from the productive activity in different industrial sectors (textiles, food, pulp, etc.), also involving the recovery of products of interest contained in the effluents.

Cooperation with the outside world
 
The cooperation with the outside, in the UM, is processed in the teaching, research, and specific bodies of the University. In the first one, reference is made to the collaboration, in specialization disciplines, of professors of the Departments of Chemical Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering of Porto, Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa, Campinas, S. Paulo, Brazil.

Technicians and business managers will give their contribution in seminars dedicated to issues of interest in companies in which future graduates will work.

The direct participation of companies in the training of these engineers, through internships, is another important point of University-Industry cooperation.

At the research level, the collaboration of researchers from the Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon, the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, the Cooperative Winery of Ponte de Lima and the Of effluents) of DG Quality and Environment, LNETI, Stuttgart University and the company "Dupermo". There is also cooperation with researchers from the UK, JNICT and INIC.

Finally, the "ad hoc" commission for Biotechnology, created by the UM Senate, includes elements from the Universities of Porto, Católica and the Regional Directorate of Agriculture.