Federica Bertocchini, who discovered the worm that eats plastic, is the Prima Donna 2017
The Casato Prime Donne Award 2017 goes to the biologist Federica Bertocchini and to the journalists Pietro Di Lazzaro, Stefano Pancera and Vannina PatanèFederica Bertocchini 49 years old, a molecular biologist from Piombino has discovered the worm that eats plastic. A discovery that might resolve great environmental problems, especially in the sea where there is a floating isle of garbage the size of Texas. Regardless the discovery, because of a shortage of funds for research Federica, for the past few months has been without a job.
To Federica Bertocchini and the world of science , generous and attentive so the environment that she represents, goes the Casato Prime Donne Award 2017 by unanimous decision of the jury, made up of Donatella Cinelli Colombini President, and Rosy Bindi, Anselma Dell’Olio, Anna Pesenti, Stefania Rossini, Anna Scafuri and Daniela Viglione.
Together with her, in the journalistic and photography sections, reserved to those who have best divulged Montalcino and its wines, the awards go to Pietro di Lazzaro for his TV program on the 50th anniversary of the Consorzio del Brunello shown on TG3 RAI, Stefano Pancera for the program titled Il futuro del vino italiano nelle mani dei giovani shown on Mattino 5 Mediaset and Vannina Patanè for the article Montalcino acqua e vino published in “In Viaggio” in April 2017. To these will be added the photographer of the best photo of the Brunello and Orcia territories that shall be chosen during the month of August among 5 finalists by a popular jury online
The 2017 Prima Donna 2017 Federica Bertocchini ia an example of the difficulties research scientists go thug, those who do not produce patents or industrial applications. It is also a demonstration that discoveries can still occur outside of laboratories as has happened in the past to Galileo and to Newton.
Federica Bartocchini studies vertebrate embryo cells ; the 20 scientific publications, all in English on important scientific magazines, regard birds, and reptiles in the first phases of life. Twenty years spent in laboratories in New York, London and Santander in Spain until in 2010 in clearing a bee hive in Santander where she is living at the moment, she encounters the wax worm –Galleria mellonella- and she realizes that is eats plastic, it breaks down the chemicals in polyethylene. The discovery travels the world over and Federica Bartocchini together with her colleagues Paolo Bombelli and Chris Howe from the University of Cambridge publish it on “Current Biology” even before understanding if the molecule of plastic is broken by the worm or by bacteria in his intestines. What is most important is that the polyethylene is broken down into much smaller pieces. Obviously the biggest challenge is << to reproduce the molecule in laboratory and certainly not to hoard worms to fight pollution>> . But to reach this result there is a problem: from April 18th 2017 Federica Bartocchini is unemployed. Her research contract with the Spanish CNR has run out and she lives with an unemployment cheque while waiting to find, someone, who believes in her talent and in the discovery she has made, and who will give her the possibility to return to the laboratory. The Casato Prime Donne Award 2017 wants to launch an appeal in favour of her and all of the “poorer research” that do not produce immediate income but maybe quite for this reason, cannot be left without finances.
CASATO PRIME DONNE AWARD
The ceremony of the 19th edition of the Casato Prime Donne Award will take place on Sunday September 17th at 10,30 at the Teatro degli Astrusi in Montalcino.
The award emphasizes those who write about, divulge and photograph in a particularly effective way the territory and the wines from Montalcino. It also emphasizes the new female profiles and the women who are of example to all others. Each of them leaves a quotation that will be exhibited forever at Casato Prime Donne, the first all female staffed winery in Italy that in fact sponsors the award.
2000 - Francesca San Vitale - writer
2001 - Paola Capriolo - writer
2002 - Marta Morazzoni - writer
2003 - Carla Fracci - leading ballerina
2004 - Kerry Kennedy – human rights activist
2005 - Cabrinian Missionary sisters
2006 - Volunteer workers of the Telefono Rosa Association
2007 - Frances Mayes- writer
2008 - Josefa Idem - athlete
2009 - Ilaria Capua - virologist
2010 - Samantha Cristoforetti – astronaut
2011 - Carla Fendi - Stylist and cultural patron
2012 - Maria Carmela Lanzetta - Mayor of Monasterace
2013 - Linda Laura Sabbadini Director of the ISTAT Department of Social and Environmental Statistics
2014 - Sandra Savaglio - astrophysicist
2015 - Giuseppina Maria Nicolini - Mayor of Lampedusa and Linosa
2016 - Chaimaa Fatihi - Peace Activist