News Roundup

Weekly News Roundup

I hope some of the blog readers were able to follow our live tweets from the Plant Bio-Industrial Oils conference last week, which was held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I was able to get back to the old days covering agbiotech and fats/oils markets, and I found so many interesting developments going on in this area especially new oilseeds being cultivated for industrial applications.

I will put an overview of the conference including interesting information that I was able to get from there as soon as the conference organizer, Ag-West Bio, puts up some of the presentations for free on their site. Stay tune for that!

In the meantime, let me post this week-long delayed news roundup:

Braskem invests in biotech
Braskem has acquired a High Throughput Screening (HTS) system from US-based robotics company Hamilton to support Braskem’s research in metabolic engineering. The robot will be used in projects involving the genetic manipulation of microorganisms known as synthetic biology for the development of new renewable polymers. The HTS system will allow researchers’ work to be multiplied by 100 to 1,000 times in the same period of time.

Purac buys biotech research firm
Purac, a subsidiary of CSM, will acquire the Netherlands-based BIRD Engineering B.V., a biotech contract research company, specifically in the field of industrial microbiology. BIRD has experience with various micro-organisms, mostly bacteria and yeasts, and has expertise in the field of the development of new strains, and development of fermentation processes.
The acquisition will include the intellectual property and 7 key employees of BIRD Engineering.

Amyris in sustainable sugarcane
Amyris has joined Bonsucro, a global multi-stakeholder, non-profit initiative focused on improving the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of the production of sugarcane. The Bonsucro Production Standard is used to certify — and assures buyers, suppliers and consumers that sugarcane-derived products meet — key sustainability indicators, such as energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. Bonsucro members can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability by either procuring physical product or by purchasing through the Bonsucro Credit Trading System.

Green Biologics bags grant
Biobased n-butanol producer Green Biologics has been awarded grant funding from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the UK’s innovation agency, to engineer a novel bacterial host for biobutanol production. The project is in collaboration with the Clostridia Research Group at the University of Nottingham which is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The total project costs are £492k made up from contributions by Green Biologics (£62k), TSB (£185k) and BBSRC (£245k). The project duration is 18 months and due to commence on 1st May 2013.

AIMPLAS in biocomposites
Spain-based center of innovation and technology AIMPLAS and the Institute of Textile Technology (AITEX) just completed the first of a three year project called BIOAVANT, which is funded by the Valencian Institut of Business Competitiveness (IVACE) and the European Union. The project aims to developed a new generation of advanced bio-composites from bio-resins and natural fibers. The biocomposites incorporating soy and other natural fibers such as reinforced flax, hemp and jute are going to be used to manufacture micro-wind blades, and are also said to be suitable materials for use in industries such as shipbuilding, transport, automotive, construction, furniture, leisure and sport.

Direvo validates enzyme technology
Direvo Industrial Biotechnology GmbH successfully completed the scale up of its first two products BluZy®-D and BluZy®-P from pilot-scale trials in a collaboration with the Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) and the BioCentury Research Farm (BCRF) at Iowa State University. The trials test the effects of the enzyme technology on ethanol production and processed samples of enzyme-modified DDGS and unmodified DDGS for analytical and nutritional comparison purposes

Honeywell launches green additives

Honeywell has launched a line of additives called Titan™ for asphalt aimed at helping the paving industry decrease fuel usage by 13%, reduce emissions by as much as 82%, and save money by reducing the amount of additive required by nearly 30% while helping meet demanding road specifications. They additives are available in a variety of product forms and packaging. Honeywell said the additives have low viscosities above their melting point and high heat resistance.

BASF establishes research initiative
BASF SE has launched a research initiative called “North American Center for Research on Advanced Materials” in collaboration with Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst. One goal of this initiative is to jointly develop new materials for the automotive, building and construction, and energy industries. Topics already identified include micro- and nanostructured polymers with new properties, as well as biomimetic materials that emulate nature. The cooperation is initially planned for five years.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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