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Sunday, 19 Aug 2018

Researchers utilized Australian bee to solve the plastic waste problems

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 Veronica Harwood-Stevenson Veronica Harwood-Stevenson

News24xx.com - A number of researchers use native Australian bees, Banksia as an effort to combat the problem of plastic waste. They are developing new bioplastic. Researchers from Humble Bee try to use Banksia honeycomb to produce natural plastic which waterproof and fire resistant.

The company based in New Zealand wants to create alternative plastic materials for industrial purposes. The founder of Humble Bee, Veronica Harwood-Stevenson gathered Banksia bee (Hyliusnubilosus) from Queensland with local beekeeper Chris Fuller. Her research is to understand the content of the honeycomb layer. "This black bee is small, we usually see it on our home frontyard" she said.

Chris's experienced in beekeeping was a huge help for Veronica. She claimed to start this after reading an article about bees lining the nest with materials that could be developed as bioplastic. Together with the research team, Veronica then attempted to make plastic products biologically. One of them is Phil Lester, a professor of biology at Victoria University of Wellington.

The researchers examined DNA of Banksia bee to identify its genes that allow these bees to be able to make bioplastic. "What we do is the same as when people made insulin in 1970s. At that time insulin gene was put into E. coli bacteria then produced in mass" said Veronica again. "We will not use real bees but only learn its genetics."

Some research was done in Queensland and the rest was done in New Zealand. According to her New Zealand does not have the expertise or native beekeeping. Although it is still in its early stages, Veronica is optimistic that the step to create bioplastic with this method can be done.

 

 

 

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