Science Can Be Hard, But Not For Everyone

After a talent search that spanned the U.S., Canada and Western Australia, the winner of the 2008 sanofi-aventis International BioGENEius Challenge was announced this afternoon at the BIO International Convention:  Mingjuan Zhang, 18, a senior at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, N.C.

Ms. Zhang’s project was titled “Characterization of a Synthetic Microbial Pathway for the Production of Bioplastics.”  Petroleum-made plastic has two serious downsides: Its cost is rising with that of oil, and it not biodegradable.  Zhang is one of a number of researchers working towards developing bioplastics, plastics made using plants or microbes.  These new plastics are biodegradable, have other desirable material properties.  Unfortunately, though, even with rising petroleum costs, these plastics often remain uncompetitive.  As Zhang’s report notes, the bioplastic PHA—which can be produced in bacteria—costs almost $6/kg to produce, versus 20¢/kg for the petroleum-based polypropylene.

Read the press release

Learn more about the BioGENEius program


  

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: