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Hallam Lab Fellow Moritz Koch Provokes Cyanobacteria to Produce Large Amounts of Natural, Biodegradable Plastic

By April 6, 2021No Comments

As UBC begins consultation on its 2030 Climate Action Plan, Moritz Koch, a new postdoctoral fellow in the LSI, is working to propel a bacteria-based biodegradable alternative to petroleum-based plastics to market. During his PhD at Tübingen University in Germany, Dr. Koch developed a “living plastic ball,” out of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. These microscopic organisms are found in all types of water, and even form the surface crust on desert rocks and sand. “I became a cell engineer,” says Koch describing how he came to coax the bacteria to boost production of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), a CO2-neutral material generated through photosynthesis, that many cyanos use for storage.