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 Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #873
Program Date: 06/01/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Chemistry, Engineering, Environment, Health and Medicine, Prions, Waste Management

Dr. David Bressler: Repurposing Prion Infected Material

Dr David Bressler is an expert in bio-refining and conversion at the University of Alberta.

One of his projects deals with misfolded prion proteins, the agents that cause "mad cow" disease.

With funding from Alberta Innovates, he's developing alternatives to landfill and incineration to dispose of the material from prion infected livestock.

DR DAVID BRESSLER:  After hydrolysis, which is very harsh condition, breaking the protein right down, we started playing chemistry on ways to recombine those little peptides we call them, pieces of protein, back into things like plastic or compostites or adhesives, and now floculating agents.  So it's a lot of chemistry looking at how to identify it, more industrial non -food related use.  Although the material is completely safe, we tried to steer away from food packaging or anything like that.  And we looked at a type of plastic that's called "thermal set", which means its actually cast permanently.   And so we were looking at industrial uses in structural materials, in panel boards, in wood products, kind of that safe industrial use.

Dr. Bressler's research indicates the inert recombined chemicals can also be used as floculants to clean up oil spills and settle material in tailings ponds.

Thanks today to ALBERTA INNOVATES

Learn more at INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY.COM


I'M CHERYL CROUCHER

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