Natural Plastics

News about the bioplastics industry

Novozymes acquires Natural Industries Inc. to strengthen position in bioagriculture

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Novozymes, the world leader in bioinnovation, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Natural Industries Inc. based in Houston, U.S. Natural Industries Inc. has annual revenues of $5 million and is a bioagricultural company.



“I am excited to have the people and technologies of Natural Industries Inc. join our growing BioAg business. Natural Industries Inc. expands Novozymes’ position in the important biocontrol segment and improves our capabilities to grow our business in key U.S. markets on high-value crops like fruits and vegetables,” said Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President of Novozymes and head of BioBusiness.



Natural Industries Inc. and Novozymes have agreed not to disclose the financial terms of the agreement. The acquisition does not impact Novozymes’ financial guidance for 2012.

Stronger position in fast-growing $1 billion market


Biological technologies are natural solutions with multiple modes of action. They are used to improve plant health and growth or combat diseases across various broad-acre crops such as corn and soy and high-value crops such as salads, strawberries and nuts.

The biological solutions complement the use of traditional chemicals and pesticides, which have a world market worth $150 billion. By contrast, the emerging bioagriculture market is estimated to be worth about $1 billion with an annual growth rate of 10-15%.



The bioagriculture market is driven by farmers wanting to utilize potent biological solutions to improve agricultural productivity and reduce the environmental impact of their operations, explained Videbæk:

“By applying the right cocktail of biological technologies you can add 4-5% to crop yields. This makes it a cost-effective solution for farmers to safeguard high investments in seeds and agricultural chemicals. Also, due to increasing consumer awareness, regulations and environmental impact from traditional chemicals, there is growing interest in utilizing biological solutions as an integral part of agricultural practices.”



New innovation for high-value crop market
“Founded in 1992 and with 24 talented employees, Natural Industries Inc. brings a wealth of knowledge in the biocontrol area. The company has a proven portfolio of products, new pipeline opportunities and good market coverage for high-value crops in key regions of the U.S. The acquisition is a good example of how we can grow and utilize our platform and leading position in this area as well as accelerate innovation,” said Videbæk.

“Novozymes has long-term ambitions to be a key player in this market. With our platform today, our expertise within bioinnovation and R&D, we expect to continue to play a leading role in growing the bioagriculture market,” he added.



More on Natural Industries Inc. can be found here.

Purac promotes recyclability of biobased PLA

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Purac - a leading company in lactic acid based bioplastics - has sponsored the Perpetual Plastic Project to highlight how easily Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) bioplastic can be recycled. PLA drinking cups were provided by Purac; intended for use at events where people can immediately recycle them into new products after use. The project is designed to educate people on the recyclability of bioplastic, in order to close the loop and promote a circular, biobased economy for future generations.


The Perpetual Plastic Project has successfully created a 'do-it-yourself', interactive 'Machine', which provides users with a small-scale demonstration of how easily PLA can be recycled: following the steps of cleaning, drying, shredding, melting and extrusion, before finally being remade into a new article. In this case, a 3D printer was used to create jewelry and small toys from the used PLA cups. The Machine is currently touring the Netherlands at numerous events, including the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the Science Center NEMO in Amsterdam and the National Sustainability Congress in Nieuwegein.


The Perpetual Plastic Project is an initiative created by former TU Delft students.  Purac, together with GroenBeker, provided the PLA bioplastic drinking cups which accompanied the Machine. François de Bie, Marketing Director Purac Bioplastics, is pleased with the project: "This initiative demonstrates in a tangible, understandable way just how easily PLA can be recycled. Although PLA is still a relatively new material to the plastics industry, it promises to become widely implemented throughout a broad range of applications. It is therefore vital that we already start to think about how best to recycle these valuable materials. Thanks to the Perpetual Plastics Project, we can show people at events and festivals what can ultimately be achieved on a much larger scale'.


Purac has created a short video to highlight the project and the recyclability of PLA.  See to view the film.



12th U.S. patent issued to Dyadic International

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The inventions embodied by this patent relate to methods and compositions for using enzyme mixtures to convert plant biomass into fermentable sugars for the production of useful products. The inventions also relate to novel combinations of enzymes including those that provide a synergistic release of sugars from plant biomass.

Dyadic’s President and CEO, Mark Emalfarb, stated, “In developing and selling industrial enzymes, our customers and partners not only benefit from Dyadic’s patented C1 platform technology but also from Dyadic’s fungal strains and technologies based on the Trichoderma fungal organism. Dyadic uses these strains to produce specialty enzymes that can be used for a variety of applications in such fields as animal health and nutrition, biofuels and bio-based chemicals. As with our growing portfolio of patents covering the C1 technology, this patent will provide Dyadic, its customers and licensees with additional protection for our Trichoderma-based enzyme mixtures.”

The patent also specifically describes methods of increasing the yield of fermentable sugars from fermentation of Distillers Dried Grains (DDGs) using enzyme mixtures comprising glucoamylase, beta-glucosidase and alpha-arabinofuranosidase. DDGs are obtained after the fermentation of the starch derived from a number of grains including corn, wheat, barley, oats, rice and rye and have a long history of being fed to livestock. DDGs are also a byproduct of ethanol production which creates synergies in using enzymes for both biofuels and animal feed applications. The issued claims specifically cover Trichoderma-based enzyme mixtures which significantly and unexpectedly increase the yield of fermentable sugars from DDGs.
This patent is the twelfth U.S. patent issued to Dyadic adding to its portfolio of 58 international patents, 38 pending international and 13 pending U.S. patent applications which cover various features of Dyadic’s proprietary technologies.


7th European Bioplastics Conference demonstrates the future potential of the industry

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The significance of bioplastics as a central component of the European bioeconomy strategy is undisputed. This was the core message of the plenary talks by Alfredo Aguilar Romanillos, European Commission, Clemens Neumann, Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Germany, and John Williams, NNFCC, during the 7th European Bioplastics Conference on 6 and 7 November in Berlin.

More than 400 participants caught up on the latest developments and progress in the bioplastics industry.
Numerous questions connected to the growth of the bioplastics industry were discussed during the 7th European Bioplastics Conference – such as: How is the growing supply of bioplastics affecting public awareness? Which market segments will grow in particular and what impacts will this growth have? What are the potential side-effects of adding bioplastics to existing recycling streams? In particular the latter was a hot topic at the conference. “Give us a sufficient amount of any plastic – be it PLA or any other bioplastic – and we can sort it and recycle it”. This was the main message of the recycling industry to the bioplastics industry during a podium discussion moderated by Thomas Probst of the Federal Association of Secondary
Raw Materials and Disposal.

The „7th Annual Global Bioplastics Award“ ceremony by bioplastics MAGAZINE was another highlight of this year’s conference. 2012, saw two winners take the award. Both companies come from the automotive industry and achieved the same score. TAKATA AG received the „Bioplastics Award 2012“ for its demonstrator of a steering wheel/airbag system that shows both, the potential and the limits of bioplastic applications. The IfBB (University of Hannover) was awarded with its rear spoiler of the „Bioconcept Car“ racing car. The flax fibre enriched component with biobased epoxy resin is only one of many components to come that shall be produced successively from bioplastics.

European Bioplastics addressed the significant topic of „environmental communication for bioplastics“ in a half-day workshop the day prior to the conference (5 November). Representatives of the bioplastics industry, the communications industry, and experts of environmental initiatives as well as public institutions discussed various cases concerning the essential issue, “Where does greenwashing start?”. “The workshop discussion reflected a very open atmosphere and we are pleased that we were able to welcome a diverse range of participants – amongst them representatives of Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German Environment Aid) and Greenpeace,“ said Andy Sweetman, Chairman of European Bioplastics. „Regular exchanges on important topics such as environmental communication are essential, particularly in the case of a vibrant growth area such as the bioplastics industry“. European Bioplastics intends to continue its promotion of best practice communication in the area of bioplastics with a series of workshops during the next year.

Now in its seventh year, the European Bioplastics Conference, with around 400 participants and 240 companies from around the world, has once again shown itself to be the leading information platform globally. Participants this year came from the following regions: approx. 85 percent of participants came from Europe, 10 percent visited from Asia, and the majority of the remaining 5 percent came from North and South America.

Images from the conference and the workshop are available at the following link:

The conference proceedings (CD) will shortly be available for purchase here:


Mitsubishi Chemical and Faurecia signed an agreement on joint research and development of bioplastics for automotive interior parts

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Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC; Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Hiroaki Ishizuka) has signed an agreement with Faurecia (Head office: Paris, France; CEO:Yann Delabrière) regarding joint research and development of bioplastics used in automotive interior parts. Under this agreement, we will pursue development of a tailor-made biomass poly-butylene succinate (PBS) that is suitable for automotive interior parts by 2014.

Faurecia is the world’s sixth-largest automotive equipment supplier in consolidated net sales and has the world’s leading technologies in automotive interior systems. The company led the way with initiatives on the European automotive industry’s environmental-friendly policies, with its strategic initiative “Bio Attitude” to improve Life Cycle Assessment. Especially, Faurecia aims to use alternative biomass bioplastics in most interior parts.

MCC produces and markets PBS “GS Pla™”, a type of bioplastic, with advanced process technologies developed in the production of petrochemical products and a broad range of applied technologies based on diversified lineup of high-performance polymers. We also develop a biomass PBS using biomass succinic acid as the raw material, and strive to build a powerful position in the PBS field with our portfolio of important patents. Therefore, MCC has formed a joint venture company with PTT Public Company Limited (PTT; Head office: Chatuchak, Thailand; CEO: Pailin Chuchottaworn) with each company holding 50%. The joint venture, PTT MCC Biochem Company Limited (PTTMCC; Head office: Bangkok Thailand; Managing Director: Worawat Pitayasiri), will build a PBS production facility with an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons in Thailand, targeting commencement of production by 2015.

Where succinic acid is concerned, MCC and PTTMCC have tied up with BioAmber Inc. (Head office: Montreal, Canada; CEO: Jean Francois Huc), which pioneered the production of biomass succinic acid, with the aim of developing an even more efficient production process. The PBS production facility, which is scheduled to go on line in 2015 with an annual production of 20,000 tons, will use biomass succinic acid as raw material.
The Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group, in which MCC is one of four operating companies, set a target to switch about 20% of current petrochemical consumption to biomass alternatives by 2025. Now, the agreement with Faurecia to jointly research and develop bioplastics is a major step towards full-scale practical applications of bioplastics in the automotive industry, further driving us forward in the sustainable resource business.