Scientists from the University of Cambridge have discovered a plant protein that has the same properties as plastic. Protein, which can be an alternative to disposable plastics, does not require chemical additives and decomposes naturally in the environment. It is a by-product of agriculture, which means that it can be returned to the land after use.

The invention came after more than 10 years of research into the way nature creates materials from proteins. The resulting protein has similar properties, flexibility and strength as conventional disposable plastics. The good news is that, unlike biopolymers, this protein does not require chemical bonding, a process that often emits pollutants into the atmosphere, the researchers note.

Protein applications are being developed to replace disposable plastics, including flexible packaging foils, sachets, bags, microcapsules in care products.
Scientists are thrilled with the invention because, as they say, it is amazing that the discovery you make in the laboratory can have a great impact on solving a global problem.

Lead researcher, Professor Thomas Knowles pointed out that they have proven that it is possible to solve the problem that disposable plastic carries with it.
“One of the most important news is that we can produce this protein in large quantities and it can replace plastic in certain areas,” Knowles says.

Co-founder of the Plastic Planet Association, Sian Sutherland, pointed out that this is a big step forward and a warning for all those who support the status quo and promote recycling in response to the plastic crisis.

– We have to look ahead. Let’s be excited about new technologies and materials, because such innovations will break our addiction to plastic. This is what the future should look like, without greenwashing, without relying on fossil fuels, and with a focus on new technologies that put the planet first – Sutherland pointed out.

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