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Recent achievements of our research

Challenging "novel carbon-recycling plastics"

Assistant Professor Akihito NAKANISHI (School of Bioscience and Biotechnology)
Assistant Professor Kohei IRITANI (School of Engineering)

Development of carbon-recycling plastics contributing to the global environment
In the modern society, there are seriously problems regarding the production and disposal of petroleum-based plastics such as oil-depletion, emission of a large amount of CO2, and environmental pollution due to micro plastics. To solve the problems, Assistant Professor Akihito NAKANISHI (Application of Life Mechanisms, Bioscience and Biotechnology; School of Bioscience and Biotechnology) and Assistant Professor Kohei IRITANI (Polymers and Photo-Functional Materials Research Group; Department of Applied Chemistry; School of Engineering) are now progressing the research titled as "Realization of lightweight material made of cell-plastics by using self-propagating resources" in the project of Unexplored Challenge 2050 promoted by leading research program of NEDO.

Use of green algal cell itself as raw materials of plastics instead of petroleum
Our research purpose is to produce new carbon-recycling plastics, with the concepts of CO2 reduction and no-use of petroleum resources, to realize a sustainable society. Comparison among many researches which have tried to produce bioplastics with compounds produced by microorganisms, we challenge to manufacture 'cell-plastics' using unicellular green algal cells themselves as raw materials. By using photosynthetic alga, it is expected that CO2 in the atmosphere is directly converted into plastic materials. Additionally, our ultimate goal is, by reinforcement with bio-based and biodegradable resources, to realize biodegradable carbon-recycling plastics with mechanical and thermal stability enough to daily use.

Attracting attention for challenging 'cell-plastics'
Our research was picked up by the annual report, which selects a few of high-impact researches in the year, issued by NEDO in 2020, indicating the gaining attention from outside of University. So far, the research progresses have been presented as below so that our research is accepted in international academic fields.
・Nakanishi A.*†, Iritani K.*, Sakihama Y., Ozawa N., Mochizuki A., Watanabe M. Construction of cell-plastics as neo-plastics consisted of cell-layer provided green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii covered by two-dimensional polymer. AMB-Expr., 10:112, 2020.
・Nakanishi A.*†, Iritani K.*, Sakihama Y. Developing neo-bioplastics for the realization of carbon sustainable society. J. Nanotechnol. Nanomaterials, 1:72-85, 2020.
・Nakanishi A.*†, Iritani K.*, Sakihama Y. Watanabe M. Investigation of the mechanical strength of cell-plastics fabricated using unicellular green algal cells and varying weight ratios of biodegradable polybutylene succinate. Int. J. Microbiol. Biotechnol., 5:159-164, 2020.
(*: co-first author, †: corresponding author)

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