July 28, 2021
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Renewable Chemicals
CJ Cheiljedang, a South Korean conglomerate, will begin mass production of its polyhydroxyalkanoates biodegradable plastic. The PHA plastics are made from feedstocks fermented in bioreactors using carefully selected microbial strains.
Full Story: ABC News (7/24) 
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Previously unknown viruses have been found in ice from a glacier in Tibet that dates back 15,000 years and are described in Microbiome. Researchers say they've found the genetic signatures of 33 viruses, 29 that have never been seen before, with the ability to survive in harsh environments and some may be beneficial, helping bacteria weather extreme conditions.
Full Story: IFLScience (UK) (7/22) 
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Advanced Biofuels
The annual review process that determines the volume of ethanol and other biofuels that refiners in the US will be required to blend into their fuel yearly has been delayed by the White House, according to two unnamed sources familiar with the matter. The Environmental Protection Agency, which handles the administration of the Renewable Fuel Standard program, was expected by many to forward the 2021 and 2022 proposals to the Office of Management and Budget in June but none were sent, and regulatory issues due to several court rulings relevant to the biofuels market and the RFS have increased both industries' confusion regarding the program.
Full Story: Reuters (7/21) 
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Synthetic Biology and CRISPR
Researchers introduced the gene FTO into the RNA of rice and potato plants, boosting the plants' size and yield, according to a study published in the journal Nature Biotechnology. It also increased the rate of the plants' photosynthesis and allowed them to produce longer roots, which could help boost their drough-resistance.
Full Story: Daily Mail (London) (7/23) 
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Consumer Products, Nutrition, Flavorings
Nature Squared has created a line of wall tiles made from organic white eggshells, which are crushed, bound with a binding agent and cured at the company's Philippines factory. The company has also made sustainable construction materials from abalone shells, stones, grass and seeds.
Full Story: Wallpaper (7/23) 
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Ting Lu, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Stephen Techtmann, associate professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, are working to develop a "food generator" that can turn plastic into edible protein. The technology uses engineered microbes "to take the plastic waste generated in the world and turn it into something valuable: food and fuel," said the scientists.
Full Story: Newsweek (tiered subscription model) (7/25) 
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California-based Nobell Foods, a startup using casein it grows in soybeans to produce plant-based alternative dairy products, announced a $75 million Series B round of funding this week, pushing its total funding past $100 million. "Plants are the cheapest way to make proteins, and if we can change their profile so they're making any protein we want, we can compete with a cow," said Magi Richani, founder and CEO of the company, which expects to begin selling its first products within the next year or two.
Full Story: Food Dive (7/23),  Fast Company (tiered subscription model) (7/22) 
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Dedicated Feedstocks
The Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee, India has created paper packaging made from pine needle waste. Aside from being a sustainable alternative to plastic, the material is also able to scavenge ethylene thanks to its porous structure and the active compound in the paper, allowing it to help ripen fruits and vegetables as well as increase their shelf life by one week.
Full Story: The Logical Indian (India) (7/22) 
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Laughter is life-giving. It makes you breathe.
Kristin Chenoweth,
actor, singer
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