Medindia

X

Korean Bioengineers Produce 'Green' Plastic Polymers

by Tanya Thomas on  November 26, 2009 at 8:35 AM Environmental Health   - G J E 4
 Korean Bioengineers Produce 'Green' Plastic Polymers
For a team of pioneering South Korean scientists, it's 'think green plastic polymers'!. The team has succeeded in producing the polymers used for everyday plastics through bioengineering, rather than through the use of fossil fuel based chemicals, which clears the way for the production of eco friendly plastics.
Advertisement

The team, from the prestigious KAIST University and the Korean chemical company LG Chem, led by Professor Sang Yup Lee focused their research on Polylactic Acid (PLA), a bio-based polymer which holds the key to producing plastics through natural and renewable resources.

Advertisement
"The polyesters and other polymers we use everyday are mostly derived from fossil oils made through the refinery or chemical process," said Lee.

"The idea of producing polymers from renewable biomass has attracted much attention due to the increasing concerns of environmental problems and the limited nature of fossil resources. PLA is considered a good alternative to petroleum based plastics as it is both biodegradable and has a low toxicity to humans," he added.

Until now, PLA has been produced in a two-step fermentation and chemical process of polymerization, which is both complex and expensive.

Now, through the use of a metabolically engineered strain of E.coli, the team have developed a one-stage process which produces polylactic acid and its copolymers through direct fermentation.

This makes the renewable production of PLA and lactate-containing copolymers cheaper and more commercially viable.

"By developing a strategy which combines metabolic engineering and enzyme engineering, we've developed an efficient bio-based one-step production process for PLA and its copolymers," said Lee.

"This means that a developed E. coli strain is now capable of efficiently producing unnatural polymers, through a one-step fermentation process," he added.

This combined approach of systems-level metabolic engineering and enzyme engineering now allows for the production of polymer and polyester based products through direct microbial fermentation of renewable resources.

"Global warming and other environmental problems are urging us to develop sustainable processes based on renewable resources," said Lee.

"This new strategy should be generally useful for developing other engineered organisms capable of producing various unnatural polymers by direct fermentation from renewable resources," he added.

Source: ANI
TAN
Advertisement

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like

Advertisement
View All