This project aims to develop biodegradable plastics that are degraded by micro-organisms in the environment ( in soil ) ,thereby reducing the burden on the natural environment. This will help to harmonize human activities with the natural environment and aid in solving the most serious and urgent global environmental problems as we approach the 21st century.
R&D activities will be undertaken for a period of eight years beginning in 1990.
(1)Development of biodegradable plastics through cultivation of polymer-producing microorganisms. (Biosynthesis)
The development of bioplastics produced by microorganisms will be carried out, where microorganisms equipped with polymer synthesis functions will be screened, their synthesis mechanisms will be clarified, and cultivation methods will be studied.
- Screening and breeding of useful microorganisms producing plastic-
- Development of property-improvement and processing technologies.
- Development of high-density and large-scale cultivation technologies.
(2)Development of biodegradable plastics by utilization of natural polymer materials (Natural polymer derivation)
Technology will be developed to realize a large-scale synthesis of biodegradable polymer materials by utilizing natural polymer materials.
Concurrently, researches will be made to develop the methods of processing, and to provide water-resisting qualities.
- Development of technologies for functionalizing and improvement of natural polymers.
- Development of technologies for synthesis and processing.
(3) Development of biodegradable plastics by technologies of molecular design and finely controlled polymerization (Chemical synthesis)
Useful biodegradable synthetic polymers and their effective synthetic methods will be developed based on molecular design by means of the biodegradation mechanisms of existing polymers such as polyesters.
- Screening of matters for synthetic materials, and the construction of data concerning physical and chemical properties.
- Development of the technologies for molecular design and controlled polymerization.
- Development of the technologies for function improvement and processing.
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