New Network Partner Pacific Garbage Screening visits iAMB!

P4SB's new network partner Pacific Garbage Screening recently visited the iAMB! Curious? Learn more about Pacific Garbage Screening via our network!

Great New Publications Are Out!

The two P4SB-affiliated publications "Interfacial Activity of Phasin PhaF from Pseudomonas putida KT2440 at Hydrophobic–Hydrophilic Biointerfaces" and "Role of leucine zipper-like motifs in the oligomerization of Pseudomonas putida phasins" have recently been published.

 "Interfacial Activity of Phasin PhaF from Pseudomonas putida KT2440 at Hydrophobic–Hydrophilic Biointerfaces" was written by Aranzazu Mato, Natalia A. Tarazona, Alberto Hidalgo, Antonio Cruz, Mercedes Jiménez, Jesús Pérez-Gil, and Dr. M. Auxiliadora Prieto. It can be accessed here!

"Role of leucine zipper-like motifs in the oligomerization of Pseudomonas putida phasins" was written by Natalia A. Tarazona, Beatriz Maestro, Olga Revelles, Jesús M. Sanz, and Dr. M. Auxiliadora Prieto. It can be accessed here!


Radio Report featuring Prof. Blank!

„Wie Biotechnologen Bakterien verändern“

The Radio Channel Radio Q recently ran a Report featuring an interview with P4SB's Professor Blank. The report was titled „Wie Biotechnologen Bakterien verändern“ (in English: How biotechnologists can alter bacteria) and was uploaded by Radio Q to Soundcloud. In this report, IQ reporter Joshua Hermes interviews Prof. Blank about the Basic ideas and principles behind biotechnological research.

Curious? Go listen to the report (in German) on Soundcloud!

New Publication Featuring P4SB!

The journal article "Isolation and characterization of different promising fungi for biological waste management of polyurethanes" was written by Audrey Magnin, Lucie Hoornaert, Eric Pollet, Stéphanie Laurichesse, Vincent Phalip and Luc Avérous. It was first published on 27 December 2018 in Microbial biotechnology. Congratulations to all involved!


Curious? Learn more on our Publications Page, or via the article's DOI!

P4SB's Prof. Blank Appears at Seminar in Aachen!

The Seminar „Planet Plastic – Vom Segen zum Fluch des Plastiks“ (in English: "planet plastic - the blessing and curse of plastic") took place in Aachen, Germany, on Saturday, 19.01.2019 at the Bischöfliche Akademie, where Professor Blank gave a talk featuring P4SB! 

Curious? Go visit the Seminar Webpage!

[Image: Prof. Blank during his lecture]

Great Article about New Recycling Project "LOOP"

"How to solve the world’s plastics problem: Bring back the milk man"

MOOC featuring P4SB Starts Today!

The MOOC "Biobased Products for a Sustainable (Bio)economy - Discover how fossil fuels are being replaced by renewable resources to create sustainable and biobased products." starts today, 16.01.2019! It is an introductory level course by TU Delft and RWTH Aachen and is taught by a number of great instructors, P4SB's very own Professor Lars Blank among them.

Curious? Learn more and sign up for this course here!


About this course

Have you ever asked what “biobased” means or wondered about the key aspects in developing and commercializing biobased products? This course will answer those questions and more; highlighting the opportunities, hurdles, and driving forces of the bioeconomy. 

Today’s industries face enormous global challenges when it comes to the fossil-based economy. Fossil resources are no longer a desirable feedstock for many products and governments’ climate goals put various limitations to its usage. Moreover, consumer perception has become an increasingly important factor. With biobased products as an alternative to the fossil-based economy, the bioeconomy can provide viable solutions to these challenges.

The course describes the different types of biomass, the methods of refinery and typical conversion technologies used for biobased products. You'll also engage in a study of the practical and real-life examples emerging in the market: biopolymers, bioenergy, bioflavours, and biosurfactants.

The course has been developed by a team of experts from seven different institutions and universities in three different countries, all sharing their personal perspectives on the opportunities and challenges faced by the biobased industry. The three top-ranked institutions Delft University of Technology, RWTH Aachen University, and Wageningen University & Research offer additional, more advanced courses to continue your learning journey:

  • Industrial Biotechnology: a more advanced course that digs deeper into engineering aspects of bio-based products.
  • MicroMasters Chemistry and Technology for Sustainability: Help drive the transition from fossil sources to renewable energy ones and engineer a biobased future.     
  • Sustainable Development: The Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Introduction to sustainable development and its relation to the Water-Energy-Food Nexus.


 What you'll learn

  • How to judge the opportunities for biobased resources as alternative feedstocks compared to fossil resources
  • The challenges and opportunities of the bioeconomy and the basic elements of the value chain 
  • Real life examples of biobased products of the bioeconomy, such as biosurfactants, bioflavours, bioenergy, and biopolymers
  • How biobased products are produced 
  • The key issues that must be overcome for the commercialization of such products 

P4SB at ISBP 2018!

Last October, the 16th International Symposium on Biopolymers (ISBP 2018) was held in Beijing, China. P4SB was represented at this event by a Grand total of one poster, two short talks, and three invited lectures. The full program and more information about this event can be accessed via the ISBP 2018 website.


New Publication by Project Partner ULEI!

Our P4SB Partner ULEI has recently published the new article "Fast turbidimetric assay for analyzing the enzymatic hydrolysis of polyethylene terephthalate model substrates". It was written by Matheus Regis Belisário‐Ferrari, Ren Wei, Tobias Schneider, Annett Honak, and Wolfgang Zimmermann and first published on 15th of November 2018 in the Biotechnology Journal. Congtratulations to all involved!


Synthetic plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be cooperatively degraded by microbial polyester hydrolases and carboxylesterases, with the latter hydrolyzing the low‐molecular‐weight degradation intermediates. For the identification of PET‐degrading enzymes, efficient and rapid screening assays are required. Here we report a novel turbidimetric method in a microplate format for the fast screening of enzyme activities against the PET model substrates with two ester bonds bis‐(2‐Hydroxyethyl) terephthalate (BHET) and ethylene glycol bis‐(p‐methylbenzoate) (2PET). The carboxylesterase TfCa from Thermobifida fusca KW3 was used for validating the method. High correlation and regression coefficients between the experimental and fitted data confirmed the accuracy and reproducibility of the method and its feasibility for analyzing the kinetics of the enzymatic hydrolysis of the PET model substrates. A comparison of the hydrolysis of BHET and 2PET by TfCa using a kinetic model for heterogeneous catalysis indicated that the enzyme preferentially hydrolyzed the less bulky molecule BHET. The high‐throughput assay will facilitate the detection of novel enzymes for the biocatalytic modification or degradation of PET.

Curious? Learn more via the Wiley Online Library!

New Publication by Our Partners!

"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.


Want to know more? Find this article on our Publications Page or via its DOI!