Students aim to make new flame retardant for PS using bacteria

PLASTICS & RUBBER WEEKLY

Published: July 4, 2013 11:15 am ET
Updated: July 4, 2013 11:17 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability

Leicester, England, university students are aiming to make polystyrene more fire resistant using genetically modified bacteria – creating a new, safer fire retardant.

University of Leicester undergraduates have formed a team to enter this year's International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM), following on from last year's successful entry.

The team hopes to make use of DNA's recently discovered application as a flame retardant to make expanded polystyrene (EPS) less flammable.

In order to produce large amounts of DNA at low costs, the students hope to genetically engineer bacteria to produce much more DNA in their cells than usual.

The DNA-rich bacteria could then be added to the polystyrene to make it less susceptible to burning.

As well as reducing polystyrene flammability, the team hopes to develop a way of recycling polystyrene waste for use in 3D printing, using DNA technology.

They also plan to continue developing genetically modified bacteria to degrade polystyrene waste more effectively — and hope to repeat last year's citizen science experiment through outreach with local schools.

Team instructor Richard Badge, a lecturer in Bioinformatics in the university's department of Genetics, said: "Bacteria are not particularly DNA rich, so we want to engineer the bacteria to contain more DNA. To do this, we are going to use bacteriophages — a virus which infects and replicates inside bacteria. The idea is to engineer bacteria that will produce lots of DNA once we give them the right signal."


Comments

Students aim to make new flame retardant for PS using bacteria

PLASTICS & RUBBER WEEKLY

Published: July 4, 2013 11:15 am ET
Updated: July 4, 2013 11:17 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

DC banning PS foam containers

July 30, 2014 2:34 pm ET

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gra signed into law on July 29 a bill that will ban polystyrene foam food and drink containers from the District.    More

Image

Sainsbury, Schoeller Allibert to recycle food handling crates

July 30, 2014 1:37 pm ET

British retail group Sainsbury's has contracted Dutch recycler Schoeller Allibert BV to reprocess all of its old food crates back into food-grade...    More

Image

Vinyl siding's lead slips, but industry pushing back

July 29, 2014 2:04 pm ET

Vinyl siding continues to be the top cladding choice for home builders and remodelers but fiber cement is gaining ground — at an alarming rate...    More

Image

Bioplastics maker wins government funding

July 25, 2014 12:13 pm ET

Canadian bioplastics maker Solegear Bioplastics Inc. has won $1.6 million in funding from the government-sponsored Western Innovation Initiative...    More

Image

Report: biodegradeable plastics use in Europe to grow 12 percent

July 25, 2014 10:25 am ET

The biodegradable plastics market in Europe is forecast to witness 12 percent compound growth during 2014-19, according to TechSci Research's “E...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events