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HomeUncategorizedRussian scientists develop a technology to make bioplastic from beet waste

Russian scientists develop a technology to make bioplastic from beet waste

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Biodradable and biocompatible, the product could be used in fields such as biomedicine, agriculture or pharmacology.

A group of chemists from the Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center of the Krasnoyarsk Academy of Sciences Russia and the Siberian Federal University have made a biodegradable plastic from beet molasses, a waste product of the sugar industry.

One of the modern environmental trends is the development and gradual transition to new biodegradable polymeric materials that can break down in the environment without generating toxic products. These include, for example, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), which are polymers of acids synthesized by many species of bacteria. However, the massive use of such materials is limited by the high cost and the technical difficulties of their production.

The synthesis was carried out using a recently described bacterial strain, ‘ Cupriavidus necator’. This bacterium is capable of accumulating polymers with different chemical compositions and characteristics in the biomass. However, these bacteria can only ‘digest’ fructose and glucose, and not just any sugar.

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The main sugar in molasses is the disaccharide sucrose, which is inaccessible to bacterial cells. Therefore, scientists had to process and purify it to reduce the content of nitrogen, calcium, iron, silicon and titanium without changing the sugar content. In the next stage, the bacterial culture was fed with glucose and a phosphorous-containing compound, which improved the nutrient medium for the bacteria, increasing their growth and, consequently, making it possible to increase the polymer yield to 77–80% of bacterial biomass.

“Our research aims at a more efficient use of the waste products of sugar production, such as cane molasses and sugar beet. This is a economic source of carbon that contains, in addition to sugars, vitamins and a series of mineral elements”, explained Natalya Zhila, a researcher at the Institute of Biophysics of the Krasnoyarsk Science Center.

The chemists concluded that the PHA obtained from beets is both biodegradable and highly biocompatible, which makes it a promising material that can be considered as a competitor to bioplastics. known degradants: polylactides and polyglycolides.

The new material could be used in various fields, from public services and agriculture to pharmacology and biomedicine.

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