CNN reported on December 8, Dr. Jian Yu and his research team have come up with what they claim is an inexpensive way to make a biodegradable polymer. The substance could be used in disposable products such as bottles, wrappers and even surgical instrument and food waste can reduce the expense by 40 percent according to the researchers, who recently published their work in Environmental Science and Technology. The new discovery using food scraps contains more organic matter that can be easily digested by microbes for polymer biosynthesis. Besides cost savings, it is more environmentally friendly than conventional plastic manufacturing, Yu said.
Dr. Yu who specializes in bioprocess engineering and marine bioproducts engineering is the newest member of the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) in Honolulu. Dr. Yu earned his bachelor and master's degrees in chemical engineering from Zhejiang University of Technology in China and his doctorate from the University of British Columbia. Prior to coming to the University of Hawaii, he was an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and a research associate at the University of Windsor's (Canada) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and taught marine bioprocess engineering and conducted research. on enzyme engineering, biopolymers and biomaterials, marine biofouling, and biofuel cells at the Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering