Navigation Links
Acrylic glass made of sugar
Date:11/13/2008

This press release is available in German

Duisburg/Leipzig. In future, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA for short) - better known as acrylic glass - could be made from natural raw materials such as sugars, alcohols or fatty acids. PMMA is manufactured by polymerising methyl methacrylate (MMA). In a bacterial strain, scientists at the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) have found an enzyme which could be used for the biotechnological production of a precursor of MMA. Compared with the previous chemical production process, a biotechnological process is far more environmentally friendly.

Dr Thore Rohwerder has been nominated as one of three candidates for the European Evonik research award for his discovery. The competition is overseen by Dr Arend Oetker, president of the Stifterverband fr die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Association of Donors to German Science). The aim of the award is to encourage young researchers to risk taking the step from the laboratory into business. The topic of the 2008 Evonik research award is "White Biotechnology" (industrial biotechnology). The Science-to-Business Award worth EUR 100,000 was given to Dr. Paul Dalby from the University College London on November 12th in Berlin. Dalby's method for combining enzymes and customizing them for new tasks convinced the international jury.

The newly enzyme discovered by Dr. Thore Rohwerder und Dr. Roland H. Mller, called 2-hydroxyisobutyryl-CoA mutase, makes it possible to turn a linear C4 carbon structure into a branched one. Compounds of this type are precursors of MMA. Parent compounds may of course include intermediate products from the petrochemical industry. The revolutionary aspect, however, is that this enzyme, integrated into metabolically appropriate microorganisms, can also transform sugars and other natural compounds into the products desired. Until now, the only way to produce this precursor - 2-hydroxyisobutyrate (2-HIBA) - was a purely chemical process based on petrochemical raw materials. The chemicals industry worldwide is searching for suitable biological processes, so that in future, renewable raw materials can also be used as a basis for MMA synthesis. The mutase presented here provides the solution: an enzyme which shifts a functional group from one position to another within a molecule. While in a post-doc position at the UFZ's Department of Environmental Microbiology, Dr Thore Rohwerder and his mentor Dr Roland H. Mller discovered the enzyme in a newly isolated bacterial strain they found while searching for bacteria to break down the pollutant MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether).

The reason attributed by the awards judges to the industrial importance of the discovery was that altogether, in the medium to long term, up to ten percent of today's demand for MMA could feasibly be produced by biotechnological means. The world market is over 3 million tonnes / 4 billion euro. It will take about four years to establish the bacterial system in a functioning technological process (pilot plant). In about ten years, a technological process is then conceivable, with an annual turnover of 150 to 400 million euro.

PMMA is a synthetic plastic developed in 1928 and today produced in great quantities. PMMA is often known colloquially as acrylic glass, as it is mainly used as a shatterproof, lightweight alternative to glass - for example, in protective goggles or vehicle lights. PMMA has many applications, including prosthetics, paints and adhesives. It is also sold under the brand names "Plexiglas" (Evonik) and "Altuglas" (Arkema). In the GDR, names used for this plastic included "O-Glas" (for "organic glass") or "Piacryl" (named after the old producer in the GDR, Piesteritz nitrogen works near Wittenberg). The plastic is fragile, but very UV-resistant and thus weatherproof. Its high translucency and low weight mean that acrylic glass has to some extent replaced traditional glass. It was used for the roof of the Olympic stadium in Munich as far back as 1970. Experts predict that the demand for acrylic glass will grow even more in future - for example, for photovoltaic units.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Ohio scientists develop blue-blocking glasses to improve sleep and ADHD symptoms
2. Genetic material under a magnifying glass
3. ASU professor helps solve mystery of glassy water
4. Nanoglassblowing seen as boon to study of individual molecules
5. Telescope embedded in glasses lens promises to make driving easier for visually impaired
6. Right breakfast bread keeps blood sugar in check all day
7. Sugary drinks, not fruit juice, may be linked to insulin
8. The accumulation of sugar in neurons may explain the origin of several neurodegenerative diseases
9. Too much sugar turns off gene that controls the effects of sex steroids
10. Too much fructose could leave dieters sugar shocked
11. Cornell researchers prove how plants transport sugars
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Acrylic glass made of sugar
(Date:1/13/2016)... 13, 2016 ... of the  "India Biometrics Authentication & ... (2015-2020)"  report to their offering.  ... announced the addition of the  "India ... Estimation & Forecast (2015-2020)"  report ...
(Date:1/8/2016)... MANCHESTER, United Kingdom , Jan. 8, 2016   ... diagnostic products, today announced the closing of a $9 million ... Proceeds from the financing will be used to accelerate the ... for detecting early-stage pressure ulcers. United ... receiving CE Mark approval. The device,s introduction has been met ...
(Date:1/7/2016)... LONDON , Jan. 7, 2016 ... demand for biopharmaceutical products such as biologics and ... pressure to reduce healthcare expenditure, growing demand for ... growing aging population. Biosimilars are similar versions of ... with regards to their quality, safety, and efficacy. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... MENLO PARK, Calif. , Feb. 4, 2016 ... the "Company"), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and ... present at the 18 th Annual BIO CEO ... 10:00 a.m. EST in New York, NY ... CEO, will provide an update on the ongoing clinical trial ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... 04, 2016 , ... Franz Inc. , an early ... has been recognized As “ Best in Semantic Web Technology - USA & ... America, it’s our priority to showcase prominent professionals who are excelling in their ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016  With the growing ... cliff that is underway, therapies such as monoclonal ... a whole host of indications are in high ... in the development and production of these therapeutics. ... quality and high costs, novel approaches and novel ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... ProMIS Neurosciences ... targets (epitopes) specific to misfolded, propagating strains of Amyloid beta involved in Alzheimer’s ... therapeutics for Alzheimer’s. , Following on from the first misfolded Amyloid beta target ...
Breaking Biology Technology: