Research Showcase: "Sustainability through Chemistry"

Event Date: 
Wednesday, March 8, 2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm EST
Event Location: 
OA 2018

Photo of Plant growing out the ground in a light bulbAbout the Event

Presenters: Anna Bohachyk and Dr. Thamara Laredo, Department of Chemistry
Sustainability is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance. Water and soil pollution, animal farming and consumption, all deplete natural resources. Chemistry has the potential to remediate pollution and develop plant-based alternatives that mimic animal products, and in turn, promote the sustainability of the world’s resources. When it comes to remediation, the ideal method should be efficient, cheap and with low energy requirements. On the other hand, plant-based alternatives to animal products attempt to provide similar properties with a smaller environmental impact.
Over the last few years, our collaborative work with the Faculty of Engineering and the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph, has focused on two main fields of research: The spontaneous purification of water using surfactants and surfactant-like molecules, a process that is extremely low cost and with great potential, and the development of plant-based alternatives of eggs, meat and cheese.  In this talk, we will explore water remediation and the development of plant-based analogues from the point of view of the molecular interactions that give rise to the desired (and undesired) behaviours needed for these purposes. Understanding the behaviours of these systems at the molecular level can lead to the development of plant-based analogues that truly mimic animal products, as well as a new generation of water purification methods.