BASF and Metabolix to investigate renewable resource based plastics.

Under the terms of the initial one-year agreement, Metabolix will produce polyester plastics from sugar using fermentation technology and supply BASF with pilot-scale sample quantities. BASF’s polymer research division will investigate the materials technology and processing properties of the products.

The terms of the deal include extensive information sharing between the two partners; financial terms were not disclosed.

Polyhydroxyalkanoate polyesters are a versatile family of biodegrad-able plastics made from renewable resources. They have a broad range of applications and may be used for the manufacture of plastics films, fibres, thermoplastic materials, and dispersions for adhesive raw materials or coatings.

The collaborative deal gives BASF the opportunity to gain experience with a technology that is still in its infancy.

“The manufacture of plastics using micro-organisms holds huge future potential,” says BASF polymer research scientist Dr Dietrich Scherzer who is leading the project.