BioShine Beauty Shimmer, Methane-Reducing Trash Trolls Compete in Biodesign Challenge

Two teams of UC Davis students have been selected as finalists in the international Biodesign Challenge. They are among 45 finalists from 12 countries who will present their projects on the first day of the virtual Biodesign Challenge Summit 2020, June 15 to 19.

Ale Valladares, River Taylor and Devyn Durham are team Trash Trolls. Trash Troll’s goal is to lessen methane escaping from landfills. Pea-shaped spheres made of biodegradable plastic contain three types of microbes (methanotrophs) that eat methane and convert it to carbon dioxide. Because methane is a highly concentrated greenhouse gas with 25-times greater warming effect than carbon dioxide, Trash Trolls aims to mitigate this greater warming factor. Users add a scoop of Trash Trolls when taking out the trash, so that the methanotrophs begin to permeate the landfill. Trash Trolls may also partner with manufacturers of trash bags to create an integrated solution.

Olivia de Polo, Pavithra Pandian, Mikaela Pham and Megan Wang make up team BioShine. Nature is full of iridescent organisms. BioShine brings this biobased iridescence to the beauty industry. They have developed a sustainable process to produce a new shimmering skin highlighter from materials made by bacteria. Currently the leading iridescent material used in most makeup brands is mica, which is mined by child labor.

The finalists are competing for a number of prizes including the overall prize, the Glass Microbe. BioShine is one of two teams eligible for the MANA Prize for the Future of Beauty.

The teams have been mentored by professors Christina Cogdell, Department of Design; David Furlow, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior; and Marc Faccioti, Department of Biomedical Engineering.

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