Home Back Issues May 2011 Plastic from poplars

Plastic from poplars

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

 

0511_NextPoplar trees are widely grown for biofuels. Oregon State University professors Steven Strauss and Murphy Ganti and David Dalton from Reed College want to harvest plastics from them as well. Success could potentially provide a more sustainable alternative to oil-based plastics. Scientists have been experimenting with biopolymers, plant-derived plastics, for years, but the bulk of this research has focused on deriving bioplastics from plants and fungi, not trees. The benefit of growing biopolymers on poplar trees, says Strauss, is that it’s more efficient; trees grow quickly in natural sunlight, as opposed to bacteria, which have to be grown in labs. The hurdle is that the ratio of biopolymer that the leaf currently yields is only between 1% and 2%. In order to be economically viable, the amount of biopolymer in a given leaf must be between 10% and 12%. The team is now tweaking its approach to get to that higher yield by introducing a polymer-initiating chemical into a different part of the tree cell. By using this method, they hope to increase biopolymer yields without hindering tree growth. Strauss estimates they’ll need another three to four years of research; similar research on tobacco plants suggests it’s feasible. “These kinds of programs don’t have short payoffs,” Strauss says.

ILIE MITARU
 

More Articles

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

Green Endeavor cleans up

News
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
080614 ULnew greenendeavorBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.


Read more...

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

OB Video: Oregon MESA

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014

ThumbOregon Business hosts an informal roundtable discussion about the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program.


Read more...

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


Read more...

Risks & rewards of owning triple net investments

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 24, 2014
NNNinvestmentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.


Read more...

Portland rises

News
Monday, August 18, 2014

IMG 2551Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS