11. Jun 2019
Bio-on has patented a new material following research conducted over the last 2 years by CNS laboratories in Italy and Clarkson University in New York state.
The new product, a natural and biodegradable polymeric liquid made from Minerv PHA, the bioplastic developed by Bio-on, can replace the triacetin used in cigarette filters. The company claims the new material is capable of blocking up to 60% of the harmful substances produced that are harmful to the human body (ROS or Reactive Oxygen Species).
Production has already begun at Bio-on's plant and will be extended to licensees' plants.
The development has two results: the adhesives currently used by the tobacco industry in cigarette filters can be replaced and a natural filter that blocks up to 60% of the Reactive Oxygen Species harmful to the human body is used, without changing the nicotine taste.
"This innovation is destined to revolutionise the tobacco sector," said Bio-on Chairman and CEO Marco Astorri, "and we are very proud of the teamwork that has been done over the last 24 months by our researchers in Italy in our CNS Business Unit (Cosmetic, Nanomedicine & Smart Materials), and by the scientists at Clarkson University."
One cigarette currently contains approximately 50 mg of triacetin, which is not naturally biodegradable and therefore further slows down the disintegration of the cellulose acetates. Over 5.5 trillion conventional cigarettes and 40 billion new-generation, heat-not-burn cigarettes are produced and sold every year.
Bio-on is in contact with the major global tobacco manufacturers. Production of the new polymeric liquid has already begun at Bio-on's plant in Castel San Pietro Terme near Bologna, Italy and will be rapidly expanded to the licensees that have already entered agreements with Bio-on. The company is already ready to produce 15,000 tons per year (2019-20) and in the light of the great interest it is receiving, expects to triple that amount from 2021.
"Exposure to ROS through cigarette smoking is a serious threat to the smoker's health," explained Mauro Comes Franchini, Scientific Director Business Unit CNS. "Our researchers, in collaboration with Clarkson University, have found an effective solution to block these species in the filter. The solution is natural and environmentally friendly, as these innovative filters exploit the chemical and structural characteristics of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA - the biopolymers developed by Bio-on)."
This innovation "is already industrialised and ready to scale up to the global market," added Paolo Saettone, Managing Director Business Unit CNS.
"Our company is entering the enormous tobacco market as a leading player,” said Bio-on Chairman and CEO Marco Astorri.
"Users stand to benefit greatly from this innovation, which is all down to our 100% natural Minerv PHA biopolymer. We have filed the first patents on a broad range of innovations in tobacco and we are especially pleased that it all comes from Italian ideas and technologies."
All the biomaterials developed by Bio-on (PHAs or polyhydroxyalkanoates and PHBs or polyhydroxybutyrate) are made from renewable plant sources with no competition with food supply chains. They can guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties as conventional plastics with the advantage of being completely eco-sustainable and 100% naturally biodegradable.