Wonder Weave

Natural Fiber is Stronger than Steel




Nanocellulose, a material derived from tree fiber and some grain stalks, could now potentially be sourced from blue-green algae in sufficient quantities to cost-efficiently create ultra-thin media displays, lightweight body armor, a one-pound boat that carries up to 1,000 pounds of cargo, and a wide range of other products. R. Malcolm Brown, Jr., Ph.D., a biology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, presented his team’s findings at an American Chemical Society conference as a major step toward “one of the most important discoveries in plant biology.”

Brown’s method uses genes from the family of bacteria that produces vinegar and secretes nanocellulose. The genetically altered algae, known as cyanobacteria, are entirely self-sustaining. They produce their own food from sunlight and water and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, offering a natural way to reduce this major greenhouse gas.

Brown says bacterial nanocellulose can be used to create ballistic glass, aerospace materials or even wound dressings, because it retains its stiffness and strength even when submerged in liquid. Its most obvious application would be in paper, cardboard and display industries.


Source: TheVerge.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Turtle Turnaround

After volunteers cleaned up ankle-deep trash and waste at Versova Beach in Mumbai, India, sea turtles returned to hatch for the first time in two decades.

Air Fare

A startup is using microbes to transform the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into bio-based products such as protein powder that are packed with essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

Saudi Solar

Saudi Arabia, which produces an eighth of the world’s oil, is planning to build the world’s largest solar installation.

Hopeful Sign

The Humane Society and other groups succeeded in lobbying Congress’s 2018 budgetary process to preserve protection for wild horses and burros, wolves and puppies in mills.

Pipeline Slowdown

The controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been delayed after the builder missed a tree-cutting deadline required for bird and bat protection.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags