Innovation Spring has Sprung in Lviv

Innovation Spring logoInnovation Spring held at the Lviv Polytechnic University's Tech Startup School was the place to be last weekend for Lviv's innovation enthusiasts of all ages.

Organized by the Lviv City Council and co-sponsored this year by the US-Ukraine Foundation Biotech Initiative, the three-day forum included startup competitions, inspirational lectures, an exhibit of locally developed technologies - from robotics to artificial intelligence, a master class in criminal science, and much more.

Guests could also win fun prizes, such as certificates to test drive an electric car.  But the high point was the announcement of the winners of the startup competition.

This year a special prize was awarded by the USUF Biotech Initiative to the most promising biotechnology startup. The jury, which included representatives of the Lviv Biotech & Pharma Cluster, gave top honors to Lviv Polytechnic master's degree student Maksym Korniichuk for his Biofilm project.

"I would like to express my deep respect to the Department of Technology of Biologically Active Substances, Pharmacy and Biotechnology of Lviv Polytechnic University, especially to Prof, Volodymyr Novikov and Assoc. Prof. Nataliya Zayarnyuk for their great support of my project and for providing me with the knowledge to fulfill myself in biotech research," said Maksym. "Also I’m grateful for the support from the Biotech Initiative and I hope this event will be the first big step in our future partnership. Дякую!"


Maksym's presentation for his pitch at the startup competition.

The idea of “Biofilm” is to create a highly efficient agricultural biofertilizer, which possesses all positive traits of microbial biofilms. The aim is to phase down chemical fertilizers usage, improve the ecological condition of the soil and enhance plant growth with the help of “Biofilm.”

Microbiological fertilizers are the basis of organic farming. At present, representatives of the agronomically beneficial microflora (PGPB - Plant growth-promoting bacteria) are used, in the free-living (planktonic) form, to produce biofertilizers. PGPB improve growth and plant resistance to biotic/abiotic environment factors, solubilize insoluble soil phosphorous, carry out nitrogen-fixation and produce growth-promoting factors.

Applying of biofilm biofertilizers is a new route in the development of microbiological biofertilizers. Biofilms are mass colonies of bacteria of one or more genera that create a matrix of extracellular polymers, keep up a contact with the help of quorum and adhere to biotic or abiotic substrates. Microorganisms in the form of biofilms have a significant advantage over planktonic bacteria, since the cells are protected from adverse environmental influence. Antimicrobial resistance develops in bacteria that live in biofilms. This improves their survival in the competitive environment of the rhizosphere, in addition, the activity of enzyme systems is changing.

A marketing survey has shown that on the Ukrainian market there are biofertilizers based on bacterial and fungal monocultures and their combinations, but biofilm fertilizers are absent. This fact determines the importance of developing a new type of biofertilizers in a biofilm form.