Researchers Use Bacteria to Turn Waste Oil to Bioplastics
September 3, 2012 3:01 PM
comment(s) - last by
New method could diversify bioplastics production, lower costs
Bacteria are capable of producing thin, transparent plastic films (polylactic acid (PLA)) and plastics commonly used for medical applications (poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB)). However, unlike some other bioplastics, coaxing bacteria to make PLA or PHB has traditional required feeding them a diet of sugar (glucose). Thus this class of non-fossil fuel based plastics raises similar
food crop issues
, a Masters student in biotechnology at the
University of Warwick
in the United Kingdom, has offered an alternative, showing that the bacteria can be coaxed to
process waste oil
(think french fries) instead of the traditional glucose carbon source.
Mr. Irorere, "Our bioplastic-producing bacterium, Ralstonia eutropha H16, grew much better in oil over 48 hours and consequently produced three times more PHB than when it was grown in glucose. Electrospinning experiments, performed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Birmingham, showed that nanofibres of the plastic produced from oils were also less crystalline, which means the plastic is more suited to medical applications."
PLA and PLB are considered promising alternatives to petroleum plastics if costs can be reduced. One advantage -- aside from improved biocompatibility -- is that the bioplastics
, reducing landfill waste.
PLA makes thin films that can be used as plastic wrap or in bags (right).
[Image Source: Google Images]
The study's senior author was
, a senior lecturer in microbiology at U of W. She comments, "The use of biodegradable plastics such as PHB is encouraged to help reduce environmental contamination. Unfortunately the cost of glucose as a starting material has seriously hampered the commercialization of bioplastics. Using waste cooking oil is a double benefit for the environment as it enables the production of bioplastics but also reduces environmental contamination caused by disposal of waste oil."
Following a presentation at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn Conference, the researchers hope to expand their work to commercial-scale tests.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Glucose does not mean food crop
9/4/2012 11:06:02 AM
We *do* eat corn stalks and husks. After they've been fed to pigs, or plowed back under to fertilize the next crop of corn.
And it doesn't matter greatly whether your ethanol process requires a "food" crop or not...if tillable soil was used to grow a crop for any purpose other than food, then the food cycle is negatively impacted...period.
As for people who go off and say stupid things like "well [x] can be grown in soil that isn't tillable anyway, so nyah Xp !" - well, there's a reason that soil isn't tillable. And if we can't till it, we probably can't cultivate it. So exactly what good does it do to identify a plant that we can neither plant nor cultivate?
"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
EPA's Corn Ethanol Quotas Could Spell Death for Cattle Farms
August 3, 2012, 6:44 PM
Research Gets $320,000 to Make Decomposing Robots
May 2, 2012, 8:10 PM
Federal Gov't Finally Kills $6B USD Corn Ethanol Subsidy
December 26, 2011, 1:01 PM
U.S. Government Mandates 800M Gallons Biodiesel by Next Year
July 20, 2010, 7:14 AM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information