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Embedding active enzymes into plastics

By Gerald Ondrey |

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP; Potsdam-Golm, Germany; www.iap.fraunhofer.de) have developed a process for embedding active enzymes into plastics. This has been difficult before, since plastics are normally processed at temperatures above 100°C. The technology offers the possibility of manufacturing materials that clean themselves, have anti-mold surfaces or are self-degrading, for example. The new materials are being developed as part of a project running since summer 2018, in cooperation with The Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU; Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany). In order to stabilize the enzymes, the researchers use porous inorganic carriers. “The enzymes bind to these carriers by embedding in the pores,” explains Ruben R. Rosencrantz, head of the Biofunctionalized Materials and (Glyco)Biotechnology department at Fraunhofer IAP. “Although this restricts the enzymes’ mobility, they remain active and are able to withstand much higher temperatures,” he says. The researchers then found a way to apply the stabilized enzymes not only to the surface of the plastic, but of embedding them into the plastics directly. In order to achieve an optimum material result in the downstream…
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