Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A solution on paper

13.07.2005


Weizmann Institute scientist develops a process that one day may yield a solution to the global wastepaper glut



One wouldn’t expect paper to be a major source of pollution: after all, it’s made from wood, which in nature breaks down into tiny components that re-enter the plant growth cycle. Yet without proper dampness and other conditions that are often missing in garbage dumps, paper fails to decompose for dozens of years. As a result, billions of tons of wastepaper cram the planet’s landfills, creating an enormous environmental problem worldwide.

Prof. Edward Bayer of the Weizmann Institute’s Biological Chemistry Department has developed a process that one day may yield a solution to the global wastepaper glut. Back in 1983, he and Prof. Raphael Lamed of Tel Aviv University discovered the cellulosome, a molecular complex that degrades cellulose, a major component of wood, cotton and other types of plant matter. In subsequent years, Bayer and Lamed elucidated the cellulosome’s architecture and identified its major components.


The cellulosome is normally not good at breaking down man-made cellulose products such as paper, but Bayer and his colleagues are now developing "designer" cellulosomes that can improve on nature. Using genetic engineering and combining different structural elements in a Lego-like design, the scientists are putting together artificial cellulosomes that are unusually effective.

One such synthetic cellulosome owes its mastery to the fact that it’s made of enzymes with complementary modes of action. In a laboratory dish, this cellulosome takes only about a day to turn finely chopped paper, made of insoluble cellulose chains of up to 10,000 sugar units in length, into a syrup of soluble sugars. The method, reported recently in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, is far from being ready for use in actual landfills, but it points toward a promising approach to waste management: decreasing pollution while producing useful materials.

Alex Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jgordonassociates.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry
23.10.2017 | Rice University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>