APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Biodegradable polyesters
- Performance-advantaged polymers
- Antibacterial agents
- Water decontamination agents
- Co-product in bioenergy crops
- Reduced production costs in comparison to previous methods
- Adds value to future bioenergy crops (PDC is a co-product)
- 2-pyrone-4-6-dicarboxylic acid (PDC), a pseudo-aromatic dicarboxylic acid, is a promising bio-based building block chemical that can be used to make diverse polyesters with novel functionalities. Chemical synthesis of PDC is currently not available
Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a novel method for the biological synthesis of PDC in plants. Using plants for PDC production presents an advantage over other microbial hosts due to their capacity to use light as an energy source.
While previous methods used microbes such as E. coli for PDC production, the present approach involves the heterologous expression of bacterial genes in plants. Several parameters had to be validated for the invention to work: 1) the expression and stability of bacterial enzymes in plant plastids, 2) occurrence in plastids of a necessary spontaneous reaction, and 3) stability and extractability of PDC once produced in plant tissues. Using plants enabled researchers to conduct a simple process of extraction via alcohol, although it was noted even hot water would suffice.
This technology enables less costly manufacturing of PDC for use as a functional monomer for novel biopolymers and composites with improved properties. Copolymerization with PDC greatly increases the biodegradability of polyesters and enhances the mechanical strength and heat resistance of biomass-based polymers. Additionally, PDC can be used to produce new biological antibacterial agents or for decontamination of polluted water.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:
- Biomass Deconstruction
- Bio-based products
- Water treatment