December 9, 2019

December 09, 2019

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University Of Surrey Announces New Study On Microbial Organisms To Digest Plastic Waste

On October 16, 2019, the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, announced that its researchers have partnered with colleagues from France, Germany, and Spain to start working on a new technique to tackle plastic waste. According to the university’s article, this novel technique may revolutionize the recycling industry. The plan is to create engineered microbial communities that will digest two types of plastic polymers -- polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyurethane (PU) -- and transform them into molecules that can be used to develop a more environmentally friendly material called Bio-PU. This more environmentally friendly material is often used as a construction and insulation material.

According to the University of Surrey, current physical or chemical methods to degrade PET and PU are inefficient. Impurities in PET polymers and high energy costs associated with the high temperatures required to break down the material make its degradation very difficult. Similarly, degradation of PU is limited due to the difficulty in breaking down urethane bonds in the material. Given these challenges, University of Surrey Senior Lecturer in synthetic biology Dr. Jose Jimenez highlights that “[m]oving away from the reliance on single use plastics is a positive step; however, the problem of how we deal with current plastic waste still needs to be addressed.” Hence, the project will investigate the ability of microorganisms to digest plastic waste and turn it into a more environmentally friendly material that can be recycled.

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Lynn Bergeson, Campbell PC, Toxic Substances Control Act Attorney, federal insecticide lawyer, industrial biotechnology legal counsel, Food Drug Administration law
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Lynn L. Bergeson has earned an international reputation for her deep and expansive understanding of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), and especially how these regulatory programs pertain to nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology, and other emerging transformative technologies. Her knowledge of and involvement in the policy process allows her to develop client-focused strategies whether...

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Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A., Manager with B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM), assists consortia in reaching and exceeding their institutional goals in policy advocacy, public outreach, product stewardship, and testing and compliance.  Ms. Botelho offers BCCM clients the significant experience she gained as manager of a national medical science research and policy consortium, with a demonstrated excellence in synthesizing and communicating effective advocacy messages in her work with academic, global health, and science institutions.  Ms. Botelho holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Kings College London, is fully trilingual (English, French, and Portuguese), and has experience working with government agencies in the U.S., Europe, and Southeast Asia.

Ms. Botelho’s administrative and management support services include organizing and administrating conferences and annual meetings, managing budgets, leading membership recruitment, and building consensus on strategic goals.  She also tracks pertinent regulatory issues, alerting consortium members promptly of relevant industry or government developments, and assists in the preparation of comments submitted to government agencies.

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