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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #872
Program Date: 05/30/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Engineering, Environment, Health and Medicine, Prions, Waste Management

Dr David Bressler: Destruction of Prions

"Mad Cow" and "Chronic Wasting Disease" in deer are two conditions where, for some reason, naturally occuring prions in the body don't form properly.

And that sets off a chain reaction which causes other prions or proteins to misfold and become infectious.

Dr. David Bressler is researching new ways beyond landfill and incineration to dispose of this infected and contagious material. 

David is a pioneer in biorefining and conversion at the University of Alberta.

DR DAVID BRESSLER:  The problem with landfill is it doesn't destroy the prion necessarily and that land can never be used again for agricultural production.  Not to mention in North America, the amount specified risk material generated is somewhere in the ballpark of 5000 tonnes a week.  So picture landfills with that much rotting, decaying material.  The other two options were thermal hydrolysis, which is breaking down at high temperature with water, or caustic.  And so, that's where the Province started working with our lab and others to look at how do we address and create value from this by-product stream. 

Dr Bressler is developing promising new technology that would convert the prion infected material into inert plastics or for use in managing oil sands tailings.

Thanks today to ALBERTA INNOVATES

Learn more at INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY.COM

I'M CHERYL CROUCHER

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  • Alberta Innovates
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