Development of biodegradable plastics

Since 1992, IPT has been actively researching technologies for the production of biodegradable plastics, which involve the development of production processes for polyhydroxyalkanoate polymers using renewable raw materials and biotechnological methods.

Biodegradable polymers offer an environmentally correct alternative for society, since they are produced from renewable raw materials and not from petrochemicals. They may be used in the production of packaging and disposable materials and even for the preparation of micro- and nanocapsules for controlled drug delivery.

The Institute is currently engaged in the development of other projects aimed at enabling the production of different polymers from alternative carbon sources such as vegetable oils, hydrolyzed sugarcane bagasse and industrial residues, among others.

To develop these processes, IPT uses bioreactors of 0.5 to 100 liters which can be operated in discontinuous, discontinuous feed or continuous mode, and are equipped with analytical instruments (gas, liquid and ion chromatographs, spectrometers and gas analyzers) to study process parameters and characterize products.

Main work performed in the area of biopolymers includes:
  • Bioprospection of new microorganisms and genetic improvement;
  • Bioreactor scale increase and high density cell production.
  • Study of a fermenting process to modify the physicochemical properties of polymers.
  • Use of enzymes and solvents for biopolymer extraction and purification;
  • Characterization of biopolymers (composition and molecular weight);
  • Development of different polymers for applications as matrices for controlled delivery of active principles with pharmaceutical activity.

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