A blog from University of Borås

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Citrus wastes to energy and materials!

Citrus wastes are among the wastes that are difficult to handle. They content peel oil which consist of a chemical substance named Limonene as the main materials. This peel oil is toxic to microorganisms (probably the natural weapon to protect the fruits against bacterial attacks). So, it is difficult to digest or compost the citrus waste by bacteria. On the other hand, it containts a lot of water, so it is not economically valuable to burn and produce electricity or heat. The research work of several PhD and MSc students in our group resulted to many different products, energy or materials. Let's hope to see these products soon in commercial scales!

The research publications can be found here!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Biosuperabsorbents from waste proteins

Proteins are the major materials used in the body of animals and microorganisms. We are recommended to eat proteins every day. However, there are many proteins that we don't eat such as dead bodies, hair, or old egg! In a recent work that is now being published at Journal of Macromolecular Science, we have conveted egg proteins to a superabsorbent that one gram can absorb a glass of water. It can be good idea covert our waste proteins into superabsorbents for e.g. diapers, and substitute the current oil-based polyacrylates!

(An acetylated and crosslinked protein that is a backbone of a superabsorbent. Read more about it at "Synthesis and Characterization of Biosuperabsorbent Based on Ovalbumin Protein", Journal of Macromolecular Science, Part A: Pure and Applied Chemistry, 2010, volume 47)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Science vs. media

The recent debates in media on global warming and possible cheating in the reports of the United Nation is an example on how the scientific questions are reflected in the media. In science, there is no right and wrong. Scientists alway try to improve their understanding of a subject and disucss about the evidences and make some conclusions. Some conclusions which are right today, might be wrong tomorrow and vice versa. There is no black and white, but just grey zones. However, media in the world still see most of the subjects as black and white, or there is a hero and an evil on every subjects. So, we see sometimes some heros become devil. Since scientific questions are coming more and more into the media, our media need also to look more realistic into such questions!