BioGel™ polyglutamic acid

Jeremy Minty, Ecovia Renewables Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Challenge area: Bio-based and biodegradable surfactants and thickeners

Multi-function polyglutamic acid (PGA) is a polycarboxylic acid that shares many of its functions with polyacrylates. Its natural, renewable, non-toxic and biodegradable properties make it a high-end material. PGA production is typically expensive, due to costly substrate/nutrient requirements for Bacilllus fermentation, high purification costs and a lack of cost-effective chemistries to prepare PGA derivatives.

Ecovia Renewables Inc.'s most recent innovation is BioGel™, a scalable, pioneering PGA technology that uses fermentation, purification and derivization, reducing production costs by up to 96%.

Unlike polyacrylates, BioGel™ has a hydrophilic backbone and advantages, such as improved solubility with various metal cations, which give it a wide range of functions. Ecovia's primary PGA applications center on cosmetic formulations, as well as pairing with superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) in absorbent hygiene products. The company is keen to identify new applications where polyacrylates can be replaced with a sustainable alternative.

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