More than 500 students from elementary and high schools participate in the International Microorganism Day Fair

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 17:11

More than 500 students celebrated the fascinating world of microorganisms with the Centre of Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF). Within the scope of the International Microorganism Day, celebrated on September 17th, researchers from the CBQF have promoted on September 23rd an outdoor science fair, that, with their extended expertise, prepared and dynamized several interactive activities. The main goal was to highlight the versatility and applications of microorganisms, namely in water treatment, food production, food safety, their role within the ecosystems, production of compounds with biotechnological interest, among others.

In total, there were 21 different stands, where the students could find diverse activities and games, such as microorganisms observations, demonstrations and artistic installations, including “Fighting food waste”, “There is life within the soil”, “What you don’t want in your dish”, “Circular Kombucha”, among others.

Paula Castro, researcher at CBQF and director of the Faculty of Biotechnology (ESB), states that “this and other events are the result of a deep feeling that science is fascinating and shows us an infinitely intelligent world”. She continued: “I believe that the large number of students, from all ages, that were here with us on this day, will never think about a microorganism as something simply unpleasant or a Nature’s mistake”.

The more than 500 students, that were accompanied by their teachers, came from different schools from the districts of Porto (Porto, Rio Tinto, Valongo and Gaia) and Aveiro (Espinho and São João da Madeira). “Fun”, “happiness”, “I learned a lot in a different way”, “enriching”, “you helped us make a decision for our future” and “we wish to come back”: these are some of the words most repeated by the students concerning this experience.

Joana Barbosa, researcher and member of the event organizing committee, shares that the event “was crucial to show to the teens, in a playful and fun way, that, despite being a cause of several diseases and food spoilage and deterioration, microorganisms also play a beneficial role in our lives”.

Given the success of the event, recognized by all the participants, the organization of the event looks forward for the next edition. “This kind of events is highly valuable for the growth and learning process of these students, maybe planting a “micro-seed” for the future generation of researchers”, Joana Barbosa concludes.