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Biopolymer firms report success with PHA pilot production

By: Michael Lauzon

April 24, 2014

Biopolymer developer Meridian Inc. and Tate & Lyle plc have reported successful pilot production of Meridian’s process to make polyhydroxyalkanoate, a naturally derived polymer it touts as an alternative to conventional plastics.

Meridian of Bainbridge, Ga., said the success paves the way for mass production of biodegradable PHA. The pilot project achieved production rates that make commercial production viable, according to the company. Meridian Executive Chairman Paul Pereira said in an April 23 news release that the pilot confirmation allows his company to contribute to sustainability efforts.

“Successes like this demonstrate that sustainability can and does benefit both the environment and the economy,” noted Tate & Lyle vice president of business development Greg Wenndt.

Meridian recently received food contact approval for its PHA from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, helping the polymer’s prospects for use in packaging and storage containers.

The pilot project used Meridian’s process to convert biomass fermentation products to PHA.

Tate & Lyle, a multinational food and beverage ingredient supplier, contributed its fermentation technolgoy to the pilot trial. Its product lines include fermentation products, mainly acidulants.