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Innovations

Danimer Scientific Continues Research into Soybean Oil as PHA Source

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$400,000 grant from United Soybean Board supports more cost-effective input for the manufacture of biodegradable bioplastic polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA).

Bioplastics company Danimer Scientific has received a $400,000 grant from the United Soybean Board to expand the company’s evaluation of high-oleic soybean oil (HOSO) as a feedstock in the production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a sustainable biopolymer that serves as a biodegradable alternative to traditional plastic.

The grant marks continuation of Danimer’s collaboration with the United Soybean Board after the successful completion of a one-year project to develop a practical model for using HOSO as a feedstock in manufacturing Nodax, Danimer’s signature PHA. Nodax PHA is used to create a wide variety of products including straws, bottles, and flexible film packaging. The second year of the project will focus on scaling up the use of HOSO on a commercial level.

“HOSO is readily available material in the United States, likely making it a viable and cost-effective feedstock in the production of Nodax,” says Phil Van Trump, Danimer’s chief science and technology officer. “We are pleased with the results of our first year collaborating with the United Soybean Board, and we thank them for their continued partnership in finding sustainable ways to meet rising demand for biodegradable products.”

High-oleic soybeans are grown exclusively in the US; the oil produced from the crop provides increased functionality and improved shelf life for applications across the food and manufacturing industries.

“The first year of our research has produced excellent results that show HOSO is a viable feedstock in the manufacture of Nodax,” says Carol Leggett, PhD, director of microbiology at Danimer. “As we continue to expand the commercial production of Nodax, HOSO is expected to serve as a valuable tool to strengthen our supply chain and bottom line. The progress we’ve made to this point would not have been possible without the collaboration of the Omni Tech International, SmithBucklin, and the United Soybean Board and their farmer members.”

Says United Soybean Board farmer-director Ed Lammers, “our 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their investments and increase preference for US soy, so we are excited to continue working with Danimer to drive soybean innovation.”

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