Korea-Spain joint research team recreate bioplastic from steel mill gas waste

December 22, 2022 |

In South Korea, a Korea-Spain joint research team recently recreated bioplastic from wasted byproducts from gas fermentation from steel mills.

Through joint research with Spain’s Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), a research team in the Department of Chemical Engineering at POSTECH has developed a technology to generate artificial enzymes from E. coli. The joint research then succeeded in mass-producing itaconic acid, a source material for bioplastic, from acetic acid in E. coli.

Itaconic acid produced by fungi with membrane-enclosed organelles is used as a raw material for various plastics, as well as cosmetics and antibacterial agents. Although its global market value is estimated high at around $91 million this year, its production and utilization have been limited due to the complex production process and high cost of production.

For this reason, studies are being actively conducted to produce itaconic acid with industrial microorganisms such as E. coli. Although E. coli can be produced using inexpensive raw materials and is easy to culture, additional raw materials or processes were required to produce itaconic acid since it lacks membrane-enclosed organelles.

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Category: Research

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