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  • Corbion and Green-Basilisk SENTIALL Innovation Named Bio-Based Product of the Year


    A highly innovative bio-based solution co-created by biotechnology leader Corbion and Green-Basilisk, a spin-off of Delft University of Technology, was named Bio-Based Product of the Year by Bio Market Insights in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, earlier this month.

    The award celebrates the application of SENTIALL biotechnology from Corbion to create a self-healing concrete product brought to market by Green-Basilisk.

    sThe concept was born when a team at TU Delft discovered how to manufacture a bacteria that, when exposed to oxygen and water, would fill cracks in concrete by converting substrates into limestone, thereby repairing those cracks automatically. The team collaborated with Corbion to develop a substrate that could survive the process of making, pouring and curing the concrete.

    SENTIALL provided a key component of the self-healing mechanism through a co-polymer that releases the substrate when a crack occurs without affecting the setting time or the strength of the concrete. Green-Basilisk was established to commercialize the innovation, which dramatically improves the durability of concrete structures, reduces costly maintenance and repairs, and helps to safeguard the integrity of tunnels, bridges, viaducts and other structures affecting public safety.

    "Together with Corbion we are now able to provide the market with an innovative alternative for ordinary concrete", says Bart van der Woerd, managing director of Green-Basilisk. "Self-Healing Concrete is more sustainable and durable and has therefore a great future in the construction business."

    "The solutions of greatest value to the world are the ones capable of delivering lasting value," said Frederik Feddes, vice president-Biochemicals at Corbion. "In our experience at Corbion, those solutions usually result when we combine our strengths and share a sense of urgency about making a difference. We happily accept this recognition, along with our co-creators at Green-Basilisk, and are inspired by the other exciting collaborations brought to light by the Bio Market Insights Awards."

    The SENTIALL platform was commercially launched in February 2019 by Corbion . It is a versatile co-polymer platform that delivers specific, high-value functionalities such as adhesion or controlled release in a range of industries and applications. The project with Green Basilisk is one of the first successful applications of the new SENTIALL platform.

  • Irish companies come together in Plastic Action Alliance for sustainable packaging


    Eleven of Ireland’s leading agricultural processing and food businesses have come together to make the plastic packaging in their respective supply chains more sustainable. The collaboration includes market leaders from Ireland’s beef, poultry, lamb, fruit, vegetables, dairy, prepared meals and packed salad sectors.


    Aidan Cotter, the former CEO of Bord Bia, will be Chair of the project.

    The companies, which represent significant but different elements of the Agri. food sector are: ABP (beef); Manor Farm (poultry); Irish Country Meats (lamb); Keelings (fruit), Monaghan Mushrooms (mushrooms), Country Crest (vegetables), Ballymaguire (prepared meals), Nature’s Best (salads), Aurivo (dairy), Bandon Vale (cheese) and C&D Foods (pet food).

    The project will be driven by a steering committee which is made up of senior executives from each of the participating companies.

    All participants will use their collective food production experience and expertise to significantly reduce problematic single-use packaging from the supply chain, whilst also introducing innovative and more sustainable alternatives. The group will also work with leading researchers in the area of plastics and packaging and leverage their extensive international networks to ensure successful outcomes.

    Commenting on the launch of the collaborative programme, Aidan Cotter, said: “The coming together of eleven of the leading key players in Irish food production to look to arrive at solutions for the issue of plastics packaging is a significant development. These companies are leaders in their respective sectors and their combined experience will create a dynamic force that will likely punch well above its weight in seeking tangible solutions for the significant reduction of the use of plastic packaging on Ireland’s supermarket shelves”.

  • Microbes can thrive on a diet of electricity and even produce bioplastic


    Researchers in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis have figured out how to feed electricity to microbes to grow truly green, biodegradable plastic, as reported in the Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology.

    x“As our planet grapples with rampant, petroleum-based plastic use and plastic waste, finding sustainable ways to make bioplastics is becoming more and more important. We have to find new solutions,” said Arpita Bose, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences.

    One of the main issues with renewable electricity is energy storage: how to collect power generated during the sunny and windy hours and hold it for when it is dark and still. Bioplastics are a good use for that “extra” power from intermittent sources, Bose suggests — as an alternative to battery storage, and instead of using that energy to make a different type of fuel.

    Her laboratory is among the first to use microbial electrosynthesis to coax a polymer called polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) from electricity-eating microbes. The plastic they are making is “sustainable, carbon-neutral and low-cost,” Bose said.

    The light areas in this cell are a polymer called polyhydroxybutyrate, which was grown by TIE-1 cells using only light, carbon dioxide and soluble iron. (Image: Bose laboratory)

    “One of the major challenges in bioplastic production is the substrate input, which affects cost,” said Tahina Ranaivoarisoa, a research technician in the Bose laboratory and first author of the new paper. “A versatile bacterium such as R. palustris TIE-1 — which can effectively use just carbon dioxide, light and electrons from electricity or iron for bioplastic production — broadens the substrates that could be used in bioplastic production.”

    In a related paper in the journal Bioelectrochemistry, Bose’s research team illustrated how TIE-1 interacts with various forms of iron while also using electricity as a source of electrons. The researchers were able to improve production rates for PHB by manually coating electrodes that the microbes used with a special kind of rust, which increased their electricity uptake.

    Bose believes that microbially derived bioplastics have a future role to play in space, where astronauts could use 3-D printer technology to manufacture their own tools instead of transporting everything ready-made from Earth.

    “Our observations open new doors for sustainable bioplastic production not only in resource-limited environments on Earth, but also during space exploration and for in situ resource utilization on other planets,” Bose said.

    Image: Assistant professor Arpita Bose, Washington University in St. Louis

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