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Novel plastics and textiles from waste with the use of microbes
Date:3/16/2012

to natural substances can be used, for example, in medicine. By modifying sugar acids, it is also possible to produce compounds that may replace oil-based aromatic acids in the manufacture of thermosetting plastics and textiles.

"Sugar acids can be used to produce biodegradable technical plastics, including polyamides, or functional components that increase the ability of cellulose to absorb water. Novel materials could replace the currently available non-biodegradable absorbent components in hygiene products. Sugar acids are also a source of hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, whose oxygen-barrier properties make it suitable for food packaging," explains Professor Ali Harlin, the head of the CoE Green Chemistry team.

In order to be able to replace, in the future, industrial production that is based on petrochemicals with new production processes based on waste biomass, such new processes must be extremely efficient. "A major challenge is how make the production organisms used in bioprocesses, that is, the microbes, to utilise the sugars of the biomass and to convert them into desired compounds in the most effective manner. This development work calls for multidisciplinary competence ranging from biosciences to engineering."


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Contact: Merja Penttila
merja.penttila@vtt.fi
358-407-000-163
Academy of Finland
Source:Eurekalert

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