New PHA pathway, stroodles noodle straws, bamboo poutine, seaweed bioplastic, rice husk travel mugs and more: The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of November 28th

November 27, 2019 |

“I can’t cook a Thanksgiving dinner. All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast.” — Charlie Brown

It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. today and many are gathering around the table, chatting about the latest news, like the new Air Protein – air-based food – and whether it will be served alongside…or instead of…the turkey next year. Or perhaps the dinner conversation is about the latest noodle straws and what they taste like, how KFC Canada is looking at bamboo for their poutine buckets, how hydrogen is taking off in Europe right now, or the latest chemical catalysis work to improve PHAs. So get your comfy pants on and fill up on these and more innovations for the week of November 28th.

In today’s Digest, we are thankful for these Top 10 bioinnovations like the new PHA pathway, stroodles noodle straws, bamboo poutine, seaweed bioplastic, rice husk travel mugs, hydrogen’s expansion in Europe with Michelin and fuel cell buses and more — ready for you now at The Digest online.

#1 New PHA pathway could open up new applications

In California, chemists at Colorado State University are optimizing a new route to a bioplastic in the hopes it will increase industrial production and adoption.

Eugene Chen, professor in the Department of Chemistry, is leading chemical catalysis work to improve the efficiency, scalability, and properties of a class of biomaterials known as polyhydroxyalkanoates.

PHAs, a type of polyester, can be used to make biodegradable bioplastics. Despite a significant push to replace biopersistent plastics with an eco-friendlier alternative, adoption of PHAs is hindered by production cost and difficulty achieving necessary properties.

Chen and colleagues have developed a new polymerization method that improves PHAs’ mechanical and physical properties while lowering production cost, opening up new applications.

“We wanted to solve the bottleneck issue,” Chen said. “How can we develop the chemical catalysis pathway to this fantastic class of biodegradable plastics so that you have, basically, scalability, fast production and tunability to make different PHAs? … That was the motivation.”

The work is published in a recent issue of the journal Science.
More on the story, here.

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