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Reinforcing capacity towards industrially relevant research on bio-inspired materials and delivery mechanisms

Final Report Summary - BLUE4GLUE (Reinforcing capacity towards industrially relevant research on bio-inspired materials and delivery mechanisms)

Executive Summary:

Blue4Glue Project has achieved important results and project milestones for applying bio-inspired material to industrial applications and developing polymerization processes which improve the sustainable profile of consumer products. In addition, B4G has built strong Academy-Industry partnership and created professional development opportunities for European Researchers. This final report summarizes project outcomes in the following areas:

1.Technology Development. Fundamental scientific and technology learning relevant for the European Industry in the area of overall Surface Modifications technologies and specifically for Surface Care consumer products.
2.Academy/Industry partnership. Establishing strong partnership between Academy and Industry to leverage fundamental research and analytical methods for industrial applications and products that can improve the life of consumers and the sustainable profile of the same products.
3.People Development. The project has strongly contributed to develop thorough European researchers who can shift from Academy to Industrial Research and viceversa. Two Academy Scientists have been hired in P&G European Research Centers.

These achievements have been obtained thanks to the strong partnership established between P&G R&D researchers and the academy partners, University of Naples Federico II in Italy (UNINA) and Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research (IFAM) in Germany.

Specific project outcomes are:

1.Technology Development. Research from UNINA and IFAM has led to newly bio-adhesives polymers and co-polymers that have been studied for adsorption onto surfaces from P&G Technical Centers (Brussels and Pescara) allowing the collection of fundamental understanding of the interactions with various surfaces for different product applications such as cleaning, anti-sticking, antifouling. The developed biopolymers are innovative in term of potential industrial showing the following properties:

(i) peptides Provide significant polar and non-polar modifications to surfaces;
(ii) effectively deposit on fabrics and hard surfaces;
(iii) Deposit on surfaces in presence of surfactants and rinsing;
(iv) Work as Aid for deposition of perfume and microparticles on fabrics;
(v) Work as Aid for deposition of other synthetic polymers (e.g. silicone);
(vi) They show potential Selectivity vs. polar and non polar surfaces

The new synthesized bio-mimetic polymers are analogue to the natural mussel adhesive proteins (phenol-catechol-Lysine peptides and Phenolic based Pseudo-peptides, see Fig. 1 and 2) that will constitute the basis for future innovative bio-mimetic technologies in the area of selective surface treatment and opening for very promising future perspectives for new market products.

Blue4Glue research partners have further identified a particular biological enzymatic polymer transformation process, based on polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzymes, used by marine organisms (e.g. mussels) that allows to “produce” bio polymers in a much simpler way (i.e. less process steps, room temperature, water medium and no organic solvents) than methods of classic synthetic organic chemistry. The potential socio-economic impact of this development is the environmental benefits driven by the breakthrough PPO enzymatic process (used by marine-organism) which produce polymers in much simpler way than industry does in classical chemistry. Potential Environmental benefits are over 124kton/yr less toxic solvents to produce chemicals, over 1Billion kwh of energy savings and a drastically reduced CO2 footprint.

A project branch related to Surface Modification and Processing has been the development of Polymers for adhesive release application which has also led to 1 patent filing.

Through film extrusion trials that involved analysis of several less/non oil dependent additives, it has been shown that it is possible to obtain a multilayer film with release side which is stable and performs similarly to current business UV-cured silicone coated films. The benefit of the developed film clearly lies in the cutoff of one process step (from 3 to 2) leading to ~30% energy efficiency increase, est. 12% carbon imprint decrease and overall sustainability profile improvement for P&G business. As further step in the same direction, it is considered the investigation of bio-related additives to polyethylene substrate by coating or coextrusion. This could be considered as future technology development to further increase the sustainable profile of adhesive release application polymers.

Academy/Industry Partnership. On the basis of the relationships created in Blue4Glue and the learning that have been obtained, a new Project has been chartered and funded (BIO-MIMETIC) with multiple Academy/Industry partnership, building on the strong relationship between Fraunhofer Institut (IFAM), P&G European Research Centers and European Academy Institutions. This project represents the natural prosecution of the Blue4Glue and aims to transfer the B4G knowledge into a blueprint for the novel pre-industrial enzymatic based bio-polymerization process. The objective of Bio-mimetic is to develop a pre-industrial process scaling up the bio-polymers developed by Blue4Glue team which have been produced in the Lab at only small amount for Analytical and technical Proof of Principle.

2.People Development. Two Scientists from University of Naples (A. Bernardi and L. Vitiello) have conducted their secondment at P&G Brussels Innovation Center and have applied fundamental knowledge for product applications. One scientist from University of Naples (C. Ostacolo) has conducteded his secondment at P&G Pescara to bring his expertise for developing new test methodologies and screening biopolymers for product applications in the are of surface treatments.

Industrial researchers from P&G conducted their secondment at Naples University and Fraunhofer Institute to bring their material and product expertise to the academic partners. Two newly recruited PhD scientists have carried out research work for the project, respectively at Fraunhofer in Bremen and at P&G Italian Research Center, fully networked with all R&D functions in their respective institutions and introduced to R&D management in several meetings and project reviews.

Very importantly, two B4G PhD Scientists from Academy have been hired in P&G respectively at P&G German Innovation Center, Schwalbach (Simonyan Arsen, NER) and at P&G BIC (Bruxelles Innovation Center) (Luca Vitiello, seconded from Naples University to BIC).

Transfer Knowledge activities.

The team organized the first knowledge exchange seminar on Surface Adhesion Modification in Pescara, Italy, in September ’09 and the second dissemination knowledge seminar on Biomimetics Materials and Biopolymers, held on October 7th in Naples, organized by Naples University. Both had large participation of scientists and engineers from academy and industry with very valuable discussion and input on scientific matters for the project.

We have also contributed at the Iupac 43th World Polymer Congress, Glasgow, July 15th, 2010 and at the COST Action MPNS TD0906, “Biological Adhesives: From Biology to Biomimetics” in Vienna, November 05th,.2010.

The team held the mid-term Project meeting on the 8th of October in Naples with the participation of all the Project Coordinator, all Team Leaders, the two NERs, most of the ER who conducted the secondment at host Institutions. Prof. Santi from University of Parma and member of Dissemination Board participated as external scientific auditor. Mrs. Margaux Genachte participated as Project Officer from REA. We have got valuable inputs and discussion on technical and administrative matters that will put in place for the upcoming project work.

The project has been presented at COST meeting in Mons / Belgium (Klaus Rischka, IFAM, and Mario Guarracino, PGI, 2011) and a workshop in Naples about R&D in P&G has also been held (2011).

Moreover, the team has organized the third (after Pescara in Sept 09 and Napoli October 2010) knowledge exchange seminar which was an International workshop with the topic: ‘Biobased and bioinspired materials’ in Bremen at the end of October 2011.

Remo Bellucci - P&G R&D - Blue4Glue Overall Scientific Coordinator