Plastic materials are ubiquitous in our daily life. 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually worldwide with a rising tendency of 4%. Plastics as well as glue are made from fossil fuels, which leads to increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Additionally, traditional plastics and glue do not degrade in the environment causing massive pollution of our ecosystems.
So-called bioplastics are a promising alternative to substitute conventional plastic materials. However, in 2017 over 50% of the produced bioplastics (1.2 million) were not biodegradable.
The main focus of the group is the investigation of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolymers, which are produced from renewable resources and are fully biodegradable to CO2 and water in natural environments such as soil and sea. PHAs, polyester with comparable properties to conventional plastic materials, are produced by many microorganism for carbon and energy storage.
Biological glue especially mussel glue enables strong bonding even under water. It is non-toxic, non-mutagenic and biocompatible thus it can be degraded by the human body after medical use.
Dr.-Ing. Sebastian L. Riedel