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Enzymatic Synthesis of Polymers

Organization:UMass Lowell, MA, US
I.P. Brief:This technology involves the use of certain enzymes as catalysts to synthesize a new class of polysiloxane materials for flame retardant materials.
Summary of I.P.:Lower cost flame retardant treatments typically add 20 percent in weight and use toxic halogenated polymers, many of which are being banned worldwide today, for both environmental and human safety reasons. Melt drip is another undesirable property of these synthetic fabrics because the melt is known to cause additional serious burns. This patented technology involves using certain enzymes (lipase, esterase, or protease) as catalysts to synthesize a new class of polysiloxane materials for flame retardant materials. The methods include the steps of mixing monomers and adding an enzyme to form a reaction mixture. The reaction mixture under polymerizing conditions is suitable to obtain a polyorganosilicone polymer or an alkylene glycol-based polyester polymer. There are significant market needs for environmentally safe and cost effective flame retardant clothing. Burn injuries are increasing due to urban warfare and from a multitude of flame hazards such as incidental exposure, accidents with battlefield combustibles, and enemy attack with thermal or chemical weapons. The loss of highly trained military personnel in war combat from burn injuries is both detrimental to lives, military operations and costs for injury treatment. Biomedical applications, flame retardant clothing, drug delivery, tissue engineering, bio-implants, and scaffolds
Patent:Patent issued in November 2005
Keywords:flame retardant treatment, military uniform, environmental friendly, green, drug delivery, tissue engineering
Primary Industry:Materials
Specific Market:Biomedical applications, tissue engineering, drug delivery, fire retardant, homeland security
Market Size:Tremendous market size for both biotech and materials market.
State of the Art:Lower cost flame retardant treatments typically add 20 percent in weight and use toxic halogenated polymers, many of which are being banned worldwide for both environmental and human safety reasons. Melt drip is another undesirable property of these synthetic fabrics because the melt is known to cause additional serious burns.
Figures of Merit:Environmentally safe, light weight and biocompatible. No excess reactants are needed resulting in lower production costs and is industrially significant. The involvement of an enzyme and the preparation process is biocompatible.
Tech.  Obstacles:Scale of production
Market Obstacles:Start with flame retardant fabrics would be accomplishable. Market adoption. Development of bio applications that may require clinical trials.
Publications:Candida antarctica Lipase B Catalyzed Copolymerizations of Non-proteinogenic Amino Acids and Poly(Ethylene Glycol) to Generate Novel Functionalized Polyesters. - Taylor & Francis, Volume 40, Number 12 / 2003 Enzymatic synthesis of multi-component copolymers and their structural characterization - Springer Netherlands, September 2003
Research Team:6 members in the research team with extensive experience in this area. Members are UML professors and researchers from the Army. Two members have developed technologies that are instrumental in two UML start-ups.

 

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