Waste Biomass Valorization and Its Application in the Environment

A. K. C. Wijerathna, K. P. P. Udayagee, F. S. Idroos & Pathmalal M. Manage

Book chapter published in Sustainable Valorization of Agriculture & Food Waste Biomass

There has been a significant increase in global waste generation owing to rapid urbanization and industrialization. Anthropogenic activities associated with exploiting natural resources pose severe threats to the long-term resilience of ecosystems. The buildup of waste biomass in ecosystems causes various adverse environmental conditions, such as greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, bioaccumulation and biomagnification of hazardous chemicals, surface and groundwater pollution, and acid rains suppress and lessen biological diversity. According to the World Bank predictions, 3.4 billion tons of municipal solid waste will have been generated by 2050. Thus, effective waste biomass management through valorization is critical in circular bio-economy and meeting environmental feasibility. Due to its abundance and renewability, lignocellulosic waste biomass can be a beneficial substrate to produce many high-value goods such as biofuels, biofertilizers, composts, biochar, pharmaceuticals, bioplastics, and food additives. This chapter summarizes the potential of hydrothermal conversion processes, including hydrothermal carbonization, hydrothermal liquefaction, and hydrothermal gasification, in producing a range of value-added products from solid waste substances. Moreover, the future trends of biological conversions that use microbial bioconversion generate a number of eco-friendly valorized products like biopesticides, biohydrogen, organic acids, antibiotics, enzymes, food colors, amino acids, and single-cell proteins were discussed. Further, this chapter highlights the multidisciplinary approaches for waste biomass valorization combined with advanced bio-nanotechnology, enzymatic sequent biomass hydrolysis treatments that are becoming popular and research gaps to overcome the challenges of waste biomass valorization by enhancing the process efficiency.


Use of the Allium cepa Model to Assess the Cytogenotoxicity of Luffariella herdmani Marine Sponge Extract

Sashini U. Kuruppuarachchi, Uthpala A. Jayawardena and Varuni K. Gunathilake

published in Alternatives to Laboratory Animals

Marine sponge extracts are known to contain potentially toxic compounds that have biological activities of possible pharmacological interest. Thus, it is vital that biological models are used for the preliminary toxicity screening of such extracts. The present study reports the use of Allium cepa, a low-cost plant-based in vivo model, to assess the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of Luffariella herdmani marine sponge crude extract (SCE). Pre-germinated onion bulbs, exposed for 96 hours to different concentrations of SCE (ranging from 0.3125 to 20 μg/ml), were used to determine general cytotoxicity. Root length as well as morphological abnormalities were recorded. Genotoxicity was assessed by exposing the root tips to SCE (0.3125–20 μg/ml) and the appropriate controls for 48 hours, and then staining with acetocarmine. The
Mitotic Index (MI), Mitotic Phase Indices (MPIs) and chromosomal aberrations were evaluated and recorded. SCE inhibited A. cepa root growth (EC50 = 10.34 μg/ml) and elicited a mitodepressive effect (LC50 = 1.95 μg/ml) in a dose-dependent and significant manner. In addition, macroscopic alterations as well as chromosomal aberrations were detected. Overall, our findings indicate that L. herdmani crude extract exhibits cytotoxic and genotoxic activity, suggesting that it might contain substances with anti-proliferative/anticancer potential that could be subject to further characterisation.

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Sri Lanka is no more among the top 5 countries that discharge mismanaged waste plastics to the world’s oceans.


A recent publication of the Center for Marine Science and Technology, Department of Zoology, University of Sri Jayewardenepura has proven that Sri Lanka is no more among the top 5 countries that discharge mismanaged waste plastics to the world’s oceans.

The publication proves that Sri Lanka’s 5th position in the worst polluters list is due to an error in source data and interpretation and the researchers request that the Government, publications, and general public to avoid referring Sri Lanka’s position in the worst polluters ranking hereafter since it is such an irrational claim.

However, the researchers also highlight that we are not doing good in managing marine plastic waste, single-use plastics in particular, the next struggle that we all have to take part in. The open-access publication is available at the following link.


Pseudophilautus pardus, a junior synonym of P. viridis (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae)

Pseudophilautus pardus, was first described in 2007, based on a single specimen collected in Sri Lanka during the 19th century. Its absence in recent surveys suggested that the species was extinct. The distinctive spotted dorsal coloration, together with other morphological features, was used to distinguish it from congeners. In 2013, we discovered a specimen resembling the holotype of P. pardus in Samanala Strict Nature Reserve. A DNA analysis based on the 16S rRNA mt-DNA locus recovered a low uncorrected pairwise genetic distance of 0.77–0.96% between the recent example of ‘P. pardus’ and a congener, P. viridis. Molecular species delimitation methods suggest P. pardus and P. virids to be a single operational taxonomic unit. Morphological analyses using the freshly collected specimen, together with numerous photographic records show P. viridis to be a highly polychromatic species within which the coloration observed in P. pardus too occurs, though rarely. We conclude that P. pardus is a junior synonym of P. viridis.


WIJAYATHILAKA, N., PERERA, U., MANAMENDRA-ARACHCHI, K.E.L.U.M., ELLEPOLA, G., ADHIKARI, H., WIJAYASEKARA, S., WICKRAMASINGHE, M., PRATHAP, V. and MEEGASKUMBURA, M., 2023. Pseudophilautus pardus, a junior synonym of P. viridis (Amphibia: Anura: Rhacophoridae). Zootaxa5227(4), pp.459-472.