"Biodegradable Plastic Blends Create New Possibilities for End-of-Life Management of Plastics but They Are Not a Panacea for Plastic Pollution" was written by Tanja Narancic, Steven Verstichel, Srinivasa Reddy Chaganti, Laura Morales-Gamez, Shane T. Kenny, Bruno De Wilde, Ramesh Babu Padamati, and Kevin E. O’Connor. It was first published in Environmental Science & Technology 2018 52 (18) on 29th of August 2018. Congratulations to all involved!
Plastic waste pollution is a global environmental problem which could be addressed by biodegradable plastics. The latter are blended together to achieve commercially functional properties, but the environmental fate of these blends is unknown. We have tested neat polymers, polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxybutyrate, polyhydroxyoctanoate, poly(butylene succinate), thermoplastic starch, polycaprolactone (PCL), and blends thereof for biodegradation across seven managed and unmanaged environments. PLA is one of the world’s best-selling biodegradable plastics, but it is not home compostable. We show here that PLA when blended with PCL becomes home compostable. We also demonstrate that the majority of the tested bioplastics and their blends degrade by thermophilic anaerobic digestion with high biogas output, but degradation times are 3–6 times longer than the retention times in commercial plants. While some polymers and their blends showed good biodegradation in soil and water, the majority of polymers and their blends tested in this study failed to achieve ISO and ASTM biodegradation standards, and some failed to show any biodegradation. Thus, biodegradable plastic blends need careful postconsumer management, and further design to allow more rapid biodegradation in multiple environments is needed as their release into the environment can cause plastic Pollution.
RWTH's University newspaper, RWTH insight, has run an item about the P4SB Project in their most recent issue. The article was written by Celina Begolli, and appeared in the third issue of RWTH insight to be published in 2018.
At this year's International Symposium on Biopolymers (ISBP) P4SB's very own Maria-Tsampika Manoli gave a talk on "Systems Analysis and Synthetic Tuning of the PHA Cycle in Pseudomonas putida KT2440". The ISBP 2018 was held in Bejing, China, and took place from 21st to 24th of October 2018.
Want to know more about the ISBP 2018? Take a look at their Webpage!
The BBC recently publised a highly informative new article about a campaign started by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with the Goal to reduce and ultimately eliminate plastic waste. Due to this campaign, many big companies and other organizations have now signed a pledge to eliminate plastic waste by 2025.
Curious? The full article, which was first published by the BBC on 29th of October 2018, can be found on the BBC Website!
This year's International Symposium on Biopolymers, ISBP2018 for short, took place on October 21st to 24th in Bejing, China. P4SB's Auxiliadora Prieto appeared at this event as an invited lecturer, giving a talk about the P4SB project. Congrats!
Curious? Find out more about the ISBP2018 on their website!
The popular science journal "Hörzu Wissen" recently published a very interesting article about the "little helpers in the battle against plastic". It offers a well-researched window in current approaches the the issues of plastic waste, and also includes an interview with P4SB's very own Professor Blank!
The article was written by Manuel Opitz and was published in the fifth Hörzu Wissen issue of 2018.
Alexander P. S. Darlington, Juhyun Kim, José I. Jiménez, and Declan G. Bates recently published the new P4SB-related article "Engineering Translational Resource Allocation Controllers: Mechanistic Models, Design Guidelines, and Potential Biological Implementations". It was first published on October 15, 2018 in ACS Synthetic Biology. ACS Synthetic Biology is published by the American Chemical Society, and available via their webpage.
P4SB's Professor Lars Blank has recenly presented the project at the Green Growth Symposium in Awaji, Japan, on 10th and 11th of September 2018. The JSPS Japanese-German Graduate Externship International Symposium "Biotechnology and Chemistry for Green Growth" was part of the Japanese-German Graduate Externship Program.
On the 5th of September 2018, five students from Taiwan visited RWTH's Istitute of Applied Microbiology, where they met with some of our project's members. The 5 visiting students, who had won a Competition from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education with a proposal on biodegradable plastic, spent a day at RWTH as part of a study trip through Germany. The aim of this trip was to learn more about the science and technology of biodegradable Plastics, and to ultimately use the newly gained knowledge to help reduce the plastic pollution in Taiwan.
All the best of luck to these young innovators in their studies and future careers!