A research group at the University of Tsukuba and the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology has succeeded in synthesizing bioplastics made from cinnamon made from recombinant microorganisms, and has developed the world's strongest transparent resin from there.This result was published in the online version of "Macromolecules" published by the American Chemistry Society.

 Bioplastics made from biologically-derived and renewable organic resources (biomass).Carbon dioxide can be fixed in the material for a long period of time, which is indispensable for building a sustainable low-carbon society, but most of them are currently soft and fragile polyesters, and their uses are limited.
In addition, since polymer materials such as resin can be recycled lighter than metals, it is said that if many metal parts that make up automobiles can be replaced with resin, it will lead to weight reduction and greenhouse gas suppression. There is.

 So far, the research team has created high-strength bioplastics by mixing glass fibers with biopolyester obtained from hard-structured cinnamon acid (cinnamon-based molecule).However, this has the disadvantage that it is not transparent and the process is complicated due to the use of additives.
In this research, we developed recombinant Escherichia coli that can efficiently produce aminocinnamic acid, which is present in trace amounts in nature, and improved its production efficiency to a level close to practical use.The world's first transparent aromatic polyamide derived from biotechnology, which is extremely strong, is produced by irradiating it with light and chemically polymerizing it.We have also succeeded in developing a highly heat-resistant bioplastic from this aromatic polyamide.

 Generally, it is difficult to make the strength of transparent resin the same level as glass without using additives, but the bioplastic developed this time has mechanical strength far exceeding that of glass, transparency, and heat resistance.As research progresses in the future, it can be expected to be used as an alternative material and as an industrial plastic.

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