It is our pleasure to announce that Alicja Babst-Kostecka, Ph.D., representing the Polish Academy of Sciences, Wladyslaw Szafer Institute of Botany, a laureate in the POWROTY/REINTEGRATION programme of the Foundation for Polish Science, has received the “Polish Investments of the Future” award in the “Innovations for the Environment” category.
The award is granted by the Ministry of Investment and Economic Development, its objective being to honour people who successfully implement ambitious environmental protection projects, proving that ecology and business can go hand in hand.
The subject matter of the awarded project by Babst-Kostecka concerns Arabidopsis halleri, a delicate perennial with white flowers. The plant first originated in mountainous areas, and then has spread to spoil piles and mines, i.e. polluted areas with high concentrations of heavy metals in the soil.
Arabidopsis halleri has attracted scientists’ interest with its ability to survive in such unfavourable conditions. It has turned out to be a hyperaccumulator plant, capable of accumulating from 100 to 500 times more heavy metals in its overground parts than other plant species. A team led by Babst-Kostecka have prepared an EU project to verify where this feature came from and how it could be used.
The properties of Arabidopsis halleri will be investigated by means of the latest technologies available within the domains of ecology, biochemistry, physiology and genetics. The results are expected to pave the way for the plant’s use in post-industrial areas, given its ability to bind heavy metals.
The project is being implemented from the Smart Growth Operational Programme under the POWROTY/ REINTEGRATION grant of the Foundation for Polish Science.
The award-giving ceremony took place on 6 December 2018 at the Silesian Museum. Along with Babst-Kostecka, the awardees included Przedsiębiorstwo Energetyki Cieplnej Geotermia Podhalańska S.A., in the Eco-responsibility in Business category, in recognition of its geothermal system extension aimed at increasing the capacity of renewable heat energy sources; the City of Szczecin, in the Environmentally-Friendly Local Government Unit category (a city with a smart-city vision), in recognition of extending a network of eco-ports; and Vertical Axis Wind Technologies Sp. z o.o. in the Environmentally-Friendly Start-Up category.
Photo by OneHD