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
9/4/2012 11:15:34 AM
...we can already use that waste oil for fuel.
Create some little critters that eat plastic and poop oil, then I'll be impressed.
RE: Cute, but...
9/4/2012 11:42:24 AM
Sounds like my dog! He eats plastic and his poop seems really oily...maybe I should alert the press!
"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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
U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II, F-22 Raptor Team Up for “Integration Training”
November 19, 2014, 9:15 AM
U.S. Marshals Using Fake, Airplane-based Cell Towers to Scan Cell Phones of Americans
November 14, 2014, 9:05 AM
Ford Enlists Wind Energy Corp. to Provide Wind, Solar Energy to Four U.S. Dealerships
November 10, 2014, 10:58 AM
Disney Reveals Star Wars Ep. VII Title -- "The Force Awakens"
November 6, 2014, 3:45 PM
U.S. Navy Lockheed F-35C Completes First Carrier Landing
November 4, 2014, 12:44 PM
Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen Donates $100M to Fight Raging Ebola Epidemic
October 23, 2014, 6:05 PM
Most Popular Articles
Uber Exec Threatens to "Spend Millions" to Stalk Female Reporter and Her Family
November 19, 2014, 12:31 PM
Apple Replaces “FREE” Label with “GET” on App Downloads in iTunes App Store
November 19, 2014, 5:38 PM
Rand Paul Casts Crucial "No" Vote on Obama-Backed PATRIOT Act Renewal Bill
November 19, 2014, 5:15 PM
FTC Announces Crackdown on Computer Speedup/Tech Support Scams
November 20, 2014, 1:40 PM
Wal-Mart: Miss Thanksgiving, Get Xbox One + Master Chief Collection for $299
November 17, 2014, 9:40 PM
Latest Blog Posts
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
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information