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Metabolix Grows Bioplastics in Switchgrass

Posted By Mike Chino On August 14, 2008 @ 5:00 am In Green Materials,Sustainable Materials | 1 Comment

bioplastic, metabolix, muriel, petroleum-free, switchgrass, switchgrass bioplastic, metabolix bioplastic, biomass energy, genetic engineering [1]

Bioplastics [2] are becoming a burgeoning industry as the cost of oil climbs and the disastrous nature of petroleum-based plastics is revealed in full effect [3]. This past Monday Metabolix announced an incredible development: they have found a way to generate “significant amounts” of ecologically-sound bioplastic by growing it in directly in switchgrass. The fast-growing perennial plant is paving the way for a sustainable source of Mirel [4], the company’s biodegradable brand of bioplastic.



Mirel [5] is a versatile bioplastic with has many uses including food packaging, agricultural products, and consumer goods. It’s tough and durable, resistant to heat and hot liquids, and completely biodegrades [6] when exposed to microbial activity in soil, marine environments, or compost piles.

Now Metabolix [7] can make Mirel [5] by combining genes of naturally occurring substances to produce a polyhydroxybutyrate (PHA) polymer that grows directly in switchgrass. As an added bonus, once the polymer has been harvested, the leftover plant can be used as a source for biomass energy [8]. An efficient and versatile source of bioplastic such as this is sure to enable future generations of eco-friendly industrial design.

+ Metabolix [7]

+ Mirel [5]

Via cnet.com [9]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/metabolix-switchgrass-bioplastic/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/08/14/metabolix-switchgrass-bioplastic/

[2] Bioplastics: http://www.inhabitat.com/2005/10/09/plantic/

[3] revealed in full effect: http://www.cdnn.info/news/article/a071104.html

[4] Mirel: http://inhabitat.com">Metabolix announced an incredible development: they have found a way to generate “significant amounts” of ecologically-sound bioplastic by growing it in directly in switchgrass. The fast-growing perennial plant is paving the way for a sustainable source of

[5] Mirel: http://www.mirelplastics.com/

[6] biodegrades: http://www.inhabitat.com/2006/07/22/greening-your-coffee-habit-ecotainer-hot-beverage-cup/

[7] Metabolix: http://www.metabolix.com/

[8] biomass energy: http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/10/22/power-your-car-with-algae-algae-biocrude-by-livefuels/

[9] cnet.com: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10014357-54.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=GreenTech

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