FEB 20, 2020 12:00 PM PST

Methane-fueled Commerical Production of Biodegradable Plastics in Sight

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Plastics, the petroleum-based, very poorly degradable polymers, make up almost everything in our society from water bottles, food packing, disposable utensils to medical supplies, automobile parts, and electronics. 

Scientists are working against the clock to come up with substitutes before plastic wastes jampack our landfills and smear over the oceans.  Among many alternatives, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) stand out due to their biodegradability in the natural environment. These microbe-derived polyesters are products of bacterial fermentation of sugars or lipids, and they serve as both a source of energy and a storage place for carbon in microorganisms.

The eco-friendly nature makes PHAs prime candidates for making bioplastics. Mango Materials, a San Francisco-based startup, took the idea one step further: they produce PHAs using methane, a potent greenhouse gas and omnipresent waste in sewages and landfills, as feedstock. 

Although their production is still in the early phase, the company is working on scaling up the processes. If they succeed in mass production of the PHAs-based bioplastics, the plastics industry will soon see transformative revolution.

Source: Seeker via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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