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What is a biopolymer?

One of the topics up for debate at the Open Science Seminar on 27 February was “what is a biopolymer and what are we searching for in biopolymers.”

The day was initiated by Emil Berglund from TI giving an introduction to the state and challenges of biopolymers in Denmark. This resulted in a nice talk on whether production of bioplastics is feasable and a responsible choice with regards to feeding the world population.

This theme was important for all the following talks. Pond biomaterials focused on using a waste product in their production of biocomposites and Karen Marie Hasling from the Danish Designschool Kolding touched upon the issue of using bioplastics and recycling as branding for a product that is not 100% bioplastic or recycled.

In conclusion the biopolymer talks and discussions were very focused on the issue of communicating the pros and cons of bioplastics, recycled materials, and renewed materials.

The other topic of the day: Biomimicking or inspirations from nature gave insight into the fantastic properties and findings we can get from using, study, and copy nature. Henrik Birkedal introduced research in natural systems giving us glue with new fantastic properties from mussels, responsive reflective materials from the chameleon, and the remarkable properties of the sucking disc of the squid. If you would like to know more about mimicking nature to create wonder materials, please contact stinek@inano.au.dk or Henrik Birkedal.

But Henrik was not the only one to show us how we can exploit the wonders of nature. Alex Andreasen from DuPont gave an inspiring talk on how naturally occurring molecules can be used as crucial ingredients to ensure the properties of hydrocolloid-based products. Selin Kara introduced us to the use of enzyme systems in biocatalysis and bioprocessing for specific chemical production.

The presentations from the day will be found below as soon as possible. If you have special interest in one or more talks, please contact ibenbk@inano.au.dk