The research project ProgRESS (PHA REcycling Side Stream) is focused on the
development of organic bio-based PHA derived from paper mill wastewater to be used
as barrier coatings and extruded laminates for paper and board (food) packaging.
Nowadays, it is common to produce PHAs using genetically modified microorganisms in a
food glucose rich medium. ProgRESS will eliminate both food chain dependence and
genetic modification of the microorganisms from the production process of PHAs
through the usage of mixed cultures of non-modified microorganisms. A “closed loop”
approach, where materials are produced in a loop process and no wastewaters are lost
or added during the process, will be employed. ProgRESS addresses the complete
packaging chain (production > processing > usage > disposal), in order to significantly
contribute to the development of sustainable packaging and value chains.
The aim is to investigate possibilities to use PHA, produced from paper mill wastewaters, and to develop its properties for the usage as a barrier coating for food packaging. PHA produced from wastewater will be compared against commercially available PHA. Since PHA is currently mostly used for injection moulding applications, the challenge in this project is to adjust the mechanical properties by tailoring the production process of PHAs or by formulations with additives so that the material can be applied on conventional techniques. With this knowledge an optimal packaging concept with PHA for different food products will be developed.
The IGF project presented here by the Research Association of the Industrial Association for Food Technology and Packaging (IVLV e.V.) is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy via the AiF as part of the program for the promotion of industrial community research (IGF) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.