Are you sick and tired of stepping in waste chewing gum? Have you ever noticed gum litter on pavements in the High Street? When is the last time your child came home with gum in their hair or on their clothes?
Now help is at hand. The University of Manchester is working with Green Biologics, an Oxford based biotechnology company, to develop a revolutionary biological treatment that is cost effective, non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
Clean up is difficult, time consuming and costly. Currently about £150 million are spent annually by local authorities in the UK on chewing gum removal. Currently available products rely on abrasive chemicals, high-pressure washing and/or physical scraping. Most treatments are not particularly effective and can cause environmental damage.
But this new treatment uses natural enzymes to break down the chemical structure of gum and Green Biologics been awarded a grant from the DTI to help develop a prototype in collaboration with researchers from the University of Manchester.
Dr Gill Stephens from the University's School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science said: 'The new treatment will make it much easier to clean up waste chewing gum. Enzymes are nature's own catalysts, and are, therefore, safe and environmentally friendly. They work at low temperatures and pressures, so the biological treatment is much less harsh and damaging than the existing clean up methods'
Dr Edward Green, Managing Director of Green Biologics commented 'This new funding will permit further development of this exciting product. We have teamed up with scientists specialising in biological methods for chemical degradation to tackle not only problems with gum but also other environmental nuisances such as graffiti. The public will benefit from our technology which will result in a cleaner built environment.'
For further information or interviews please contact Media Relations Manager Jon Keighren on 0161 275 8384 at The University of Manchester or Dr Edward Green on 01865 405107
About the University of Manchester
The University of Manchester came into existence on Friday 22nd October 2004 when it received its Royal Charter from Her Majesty the Queen. This bold initiative has created a premier university by combining two of the UK's most distinguished research institutions, UMIST and the Victoria University of Manchester. An unprecedented £300 million capital investment programme will help to make Manchester an academic powerhouse in terms of facilities and research capacity.
The work on chewing gum at Manchester is led by Dr Gill Stephens, in the new Centre of Excellence in Biocatalysis. The Centre is set to provide a huge boost for the drug, food, agrochemical and speciality chemicals industries by helping to manufacture new, safer products using enzymes. The Core Research Facility will occupy the top floor of the new £35M five-storey Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre (MIB) building in state-of-the-art facilities for 60-80 research staff.
About Green Biologics
GBL is an innovative industrial biotechnology company based at the Oxford BioBusiness Centre in Littlemore that specialise in high temperature micro organisms (thermophiles) and thermostable enzymes. GBL has developed a unique and diverse collection of thermophiles isolated from nature.
The company is focused on product development for emerging markets in environmental waste treatment, chemical manufacture and for the production of pharmaceutical derivatives. The company also provides research and development services for other companies wishing to capitalise on the extraordinary benefits that natural thermophiles offer. For further details visit www.greenbiologics.com
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