Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A greener source of polyester: Cork trees

Date:
April 16, 2014
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very). In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out how to extract a natural, waterproof, antibacterial version of the first material from the latter. Their new technique could have applications in medical devices.

On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very). In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out how to extract a natural, waterproof, antibacterial version of the first material from the latter. Their new technique, which could have applications in medical devices, appears in the ACS journal Biomacromolecules.

Cristina Silva Pereira and colleagues explain that polyesters are ubiquitous in modern life, and not just as a practical fabric for clothing. Their durability and other traits make them ideal for use in cushioning and insulating materials, in liquid crystal displays, holograms, filters, and as a high-gloss finish on guitars and pianos. But making polyester for these products involves a toxic process that starts with the melting of petroleum-based products. To replace these synthetic fibers, scientists have turned to nature. More specifically, to the cork oak tree, which makes its own version of polyester -- suberin. Attempts to extract suberin intact from the tree's bark have so far resulted in pasty blobs, so Silva Pereira's team decided to find a different way.

They used a new technique to take suberin out of cork and then re-make it in a more useful film form. Although some of the original structure was lost, the resulting plastic-like material was intact enough to keep its waterproof and antibacterial properties. An added perk of the material is that it's biocompatible, which led the researchers to conclude: "One of the first applications we believe will be implemented is clinical usage."

The authors cite funding from the European Economic Area, the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Helga Garcia, Rui Ferreira, Celso Martins, Andreia F. Sousa, Carmen S. R. Freire, Armando J. D. Silvestre, Werner Kunz, Luís Paulo N. Rebelo, Cristina Silva Pereira. Ex Situ Reconstitution of the Plant Biopolyester Suberin as a Film. Biomacromolecules, 2014; 140408094213004 DOI: 10.1021/bm500201s

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "A greener source of polyester: Cork trees." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416113012.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2014, April 16). A greener source of polyester: Cork trees. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416113012.htm
American Chemical Society. "A greener source of polyester: Cork trees." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416113012.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins