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‘Horizon Faculty Fellowship’ Helps Entrepreneurial Professors

October 29, 2015 | Mcpherson Sentinel

Teacher incorporates entrepreneurial concepts of critical thinking and sustainability into a general education chemistry course that emphasizes “Green” chemistry.


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Safer Chemicals Would Benefit both Consumers and Workers

October 29, 2015 | The Conversation

Consumer awareness and community activism exert pressure on manufacturers, and early-stage legislation, testing the waters of government involvement in the United States.


Global Research Alert Called for Microbial Ecosystems Critical to Life on Earth

October 28, 2015 | The Daily Galaxy

A consortium of 48 scientists from 50 institutions in the United States has called for an ambitious research effort to understand and harness microbiomes.


Isolation and Identification of Green Pigments from Waste Pineapple Peels

October 28, 2015 | LabMate

The use of Green Chemistry Principles when applied to the extraction and isolation of chlorophyll biodegradation products (Green Pigments) from pineapple peel waste.


University of Missouri Researchers Developing Biodegradable Displays for Electronics

October 28, 2015 | Sustainable Brands

University of Missouri researchers are creating biodegradable electronics by using organic components in screen displays, which could one day help reduce electronic waste in the world’s landfills.


Cleaning Up the Precious Metals Industry

October 28, 2015 | PHYS ORG

Researchers have discovered a new material that can catalyze the decomposition of cyanide ions in process waste streams.


Algenol CEO Exits; Staff Cut by 25%, Investors Re-Up for Two Years, New Direction Tipped

October 25, 2015 | Biofuels Digest

Algenol, winner of a 2015 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, diversifies into carbon capture and water treatment while oil prices drop.




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The Green Chemistry & Commerce Council Education Group is proud to announce the launch of the Safer Chemistry Training for Businesses. This free online curriculum is comprised of educational webinars, ranging from introductory to advanced, and supplemental reading materials. While the material has been developed with a business audience in mind, we hope that other groups, such as technical assistance providers and students, will also benefit from this foundation in green chemistry.


The Safer Chemistry Training was developed in response to our member companies' needs for education of their employees and supply chains in various aspects of green chemistry. It is a direct outcome of the GC3 Policy Statement on Green Chemistry Education, which calls on businesses and academic institutions to support and implement green chemistry training in order to fulfill societal and industrial needs.


The Safer Chemistry Training for Businesses is designed to be tailored to the specific needs of the learner’s job description and experience; the number of webinars watched and duration of training can be altered as needed.  For example, a purchaser trying to understand new corporate sustainability initiatives might only watch a few, whereas a chemist new to green chemistry might want to watch 5 or 6.


View the complete list of educational webinars here. Additional training webinars are planned and will be added to the Safer Chemistry Training in the coming months. Sign up for the GC3 newsletter to be notified of new additions. If you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact Saskia van Bergen.



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University of Sheffield to Expand Unique Partnership with Nanjing Tech University

GC News Roundup.pngOctober 23, 2015 | The University of Sheffield

Joint Institute will develop Masters and Ph.D. collaborations as well as joint research initiatives, starting with Green Chemistry


New Method Makes Oxygen a Raw Material for Carbon-Based Substances

October 23, 2015 | PHYS ORG

Chemistry and Biochemistry division shows how it is possible to change complex and ineffective oxidants for oxygen


Graphene Could Lower the Cost of Renewable Hydrogen for FCEVs

October 23, 2015 | Clean Technica

With lower process costs, you could see more hydrogen fuel stations powered by on site renewable energy, and the way would also be cleared for large scale power-to-gas systems driven by solar, wind or even tidal energy


Canada’s Science Community Content with Trudeau’s Victory

October 22, 2015 | Chemistry World

Trudeau pledged to create a new government office to safeguard science


Encouraging Government Policies to Drive Global Green Technology Market

October 21, 2015 | Industry Today

Green Technologies Market to be driven by increased environmental awareness and rising urbanization across the globe


How Business and Green Chemistry can Change the Manufacturing Industry

October 20, 2015 | Just Means

Encouraging surge in the movement toward a more sustainable manufacturing industry


Organoclick Awarded Täby's Environmental Prize

October 19, 2015 | Innovation in Textiles

Cleantech company wins environmental prize for its work with green chemistry and fiber-based material



Also Check Out ACS GCI in the News:


Green Chemistry Education Roadmap Charts the Path Ahead

September 28, 2015 | C&EN

Integration of green chemistry concepts into the chemistry curriculum has not proceeded at a fast enough pace to support this growing field


ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable Presents Awards

September 21, 2015 | C&EN

Roundtable awards grants for research that could lead to significant environmental benefits and have immediate application within the pharmaceutical industry




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Contributed by Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Novozymes Novozymes A/S, Krogshoejvej 36, 2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark




A few years ago, a report published by WWF concluded that industrial biotechnology has the potential to save the planet up to 2.5 billion tons on CO2 emissions per year - more than Germany’s total reported emissions in 1990 - and support building a sustainable future. Industrial biotechnology could help create a true 21st century green economy, as the WWF report states (1).


In 2013, industrial biotechnology became extremely visible on the political agenda with the EU Commission proposing a €3.8 billion Public Private Partnership (PPP) on Biobased Industries (2), in order to accelerate the commercialization of biobased products in Europe. The European Commission will invest €1 billion and industry €2.8 billion, from 2014 to 2020, to boost market uptake of new biobased products that are “made in Europe.”


The UN agrees that biotech is key to solving the world’s toughest human challenges. We have also seen China make biotechnology a priority in its recent five-year plan. Industrial biotechnology applications are widely used in everyday life by people all over the world – and have been for years. They help reduce the amount of time needed to bake fresh bread, help us to produce fuel from corn and waste materials and save heat in laundry washing. In this way, biotechnology helps to replace chemicals and it offers a way to produce more with less energy and fewer raw materials.




One of the companies delivering biotechnological solutions is Novozymes, the world’s biggest producer of industrial enzymes as well as microorganisms, and the solutions provided by Novozymes are very much focused on feeding and fueling the world. Feeding the world is critical and an area in which Novozymes is fully engaged. According to UN researchers, demand for agricultural output is projected to grow by at least 70% by 2050. For this reason, Novozymes has engaged in a strategic alliance with Monsanto.


Naturally occurring solutions such as microbials, plant extracts, beneficial insects and other organic material will allow farmers to improve crop health and productivity. The collaboration between the two companies plans to transform research and commercialization of environmentally friendly microbial products that will provide a new platform of solutions for growers around the world.


To do so, Novozymes is establishing a new RH&D center in North Carolina dedicated to its bioagriculture business. Scientists at the new site in North Carolina will research and develop beneficial microorganisms found in the soil. The resulting technology will focus on improved crop yield, fertility and pest control for growers around the world. The significant expansion of R&D resources will enable Novozymes’ scientists to pursue an increased number of, as well as improved, biological solutions for the ever-changing challenges facing global agriculture.


Biotech is also certainly helping to fuel the world. Using biological processes such as fermentation and harnessing biocatalysts such as enzymes, yeast and other microbes to produce biofuels, we can reduce the use of petroleum, water and energy and reduce waste. Right now, biomass conversion is emerging and the technology is consistently developing to make production of cellulosic ethanol more cost-efficient and commercially viable.


Novozymes has partnered with Beta Renewables to demonstrate 2G, or second generation, technology on a commercial scale. 2G technology uses fuels that are manufactured from various types of biomass, and the Crescentino plant in Italy has an annual production capacity of 40,000 metric tons. The plant uses wheat straw, rice straw and arundo donax, a high-yielding energy crop grown on marginal land.




Under these headlines, Novozymes supply enzymes for five major global industries: Household Care, Food & Beverages, Bioenergy, Agriculture & Feed, and Technical & Pharma. Use of enzymes in each industry will provide environmental benefits. Enzymes used in laundry can replace surfactants in the detergent and work to reduce the washing temperature is minimized. Life cycle assessment is used to compare the environmental impact of enzyme production with the avoided impacts obtained by surfactant saving and reduced electricity production for heating wash water.


At first sight, the use of enzymes in laundry is not something that one would believe would have significant environmental effects. Doing laundry is one of the activities that consumes the most energy in an ordinary household. By washing at 30°C rather than 60°C or 40°C, the CO2 savings potential in Europe and the U.S. is around 32 million tons – equivalent to emissions from 8 million cars. At the same time, enzymes have the potential to replace up to 50% of surfactants, while maintaining cost and washing performance. If all Europeans washed their clothes using cold water, it would be possible to close three large coal-fired power stations, reducing the continent’s CO2 emissions by 12 million tons a year.




Many of these biosolutions come together and offer improved environmental performance for customers compared with conventional technologies. Not only does this result in higher-quality products at lower costs, it also enables our customers to reduce their CO2 emissions. Lower CO2 emissions help reduce the stress on our global climate and support the mitigation of climate change.


For 10 years, Novozymes has conducted peer-reviewed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies to document the environmental impact of its biosolutions (3), and we develop specific claims together with our customers. We specifically advise our customers and partners on ways to reduce their CO2 emissions and leverage the positive impact on climate change that our products enable. We estimate that our customers avoided 60 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2014 by applying our products, the equivalent of taking approximately 25 million cars off the road. This is an increase of 8 million tons compared with 2013, and was driven primarily by increased sales and performance of our solutions for biofuels, household care and textiles. To give one example: In 2014, we conducted a comprehensive study (including an LCA and a consumer survey) to better understand and document how Novozymes’ patented biopolishing solutions can improve the quality of cotton clothing and extend its lifetime.


By using our biopolishing solutions, customers strengthen their brand and gain premium-pricing opportunities, fewer garments go to waste, and resource efficiency increases throughout the garment production chain. The study documents that our biopolishing solutions could potentially be applied in 40% of the world’s annual cotton production, and result in savings of approximately 24 million tons of CO2 emissions and 27 billion m3 of water. The study will be published in 2015.




Building on biotechnology, sustainability is an intrinsic part of the business for Novozymes. It is the nature of our technology and the technology comes from nature itself. Sustainability is fully integrated into Novozymes’ business and drives innovation for the company. In 2013, Novozymes was ranked as the most sustainable company in the Biotechnology Industry category of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the 12th time. At Novozymes, sustainability is a business driver on three levels; 1) To operate responsibly, 2) To grow our current business, and 3) To develop new business. Through working responsibly, we strive to live out what we believe in and constantly challenge ourselves to optimize our business practices and improve our sustainability impact.




The generally positive sustainability impact of Novozymes’ solutions helps to grow the current business; the solutions enable the customers to meet their sustainability agendas through optimizing their use of raw materials and energy. Customers like what is offered by biotechnology, however, enzymes used in detergent need to be cost-competitive and better performing than the chemicals they replace. “Consumers are really excited about low temperature detergents because that translates to immediate savings on their electricity bills,” Peder Holk Nielsen explained in an interview with Forbes (4). But he also explained that most consumers aren’t willing to pay for those savings. When you look at the positioning of products as renewable or having a lower footprint, the big companies share data that roughly suggests that a lot of consumers would never buy a product that has a green label because they are suspicious of its performance.




Nevertheless, even though end users don’t seem willing to pay for sustainable savings and that sustainability has somehow faded from the global agenda, Novozymes has made it an integral part of its business – and has done so for years. To emphasize this, in 2015 Novozymes presented a renewed strategy with the headline of: “Together we find biological answers to better the growing world – let’s rethink tomorrow”.


Novozymes’ renewed strategy is also very specific and has a number of sustainability targets:


  • REACH six billion people with our biological solutions
  • EDUCATE 1 million people about the potential of biology from 2015-2020
  • CATALYZE five global partnerships for change from 2015-2020
  • DELIVER 10 transformative innovations from 2015-2020
  • SAVE 100 million tons of CO2 by 2020




To protect the world from the devastating effects of climate change all relevant technologies need to be put to use. Biotechnology is in use today and interest for the technology is increasing for good reasons. Today the world runs on fossil fuels; and we all know that this has high and long-term costs for our planet.


Biotechnology is a way to use renewable biomass as the most important raw material, enabling the production of the same products we get from oil today. A change from an oil-based economy to a biobased economy means a future where biorefineries replace oil refineries, and biological raw materials replace fossil fuels as the primary feedstock for materials, fuels and energy. The best news is that we have the technology ready here today – it is called biotechnology.


This article was originally published on Household and Personal Care Today, a publication from Tekno Scienze Publisher: -choice.aspx




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The word is out. Green chemistry has caught on, and the field has grown tremendously since it first emerged in the 1990s. The question now is where are we going with all this momentum?


On September 18, 2015, we took an important first step in the roadmapping project for green chemistry. We hosted a visioning workshop with a small group of participants deliberately selected for their diverse perspectives on green chemistry. This step will catalyze additional workshops, meetings and full drafting of the roadmap plan.


TIMG_0042.JPGhe workshop was marked by the group’s optimism, but also by their earnestness to create a high-quality, durable and effective plan. They were tasked with setting the vision for the roadmap: the elements of the vision, the role of the roadmap, how to best engage the community, and next steps in the project. All of this in the context of the remarkable progress that has been made in green chemistry already.


Perhaps the most difficult task, however, was suspending disbelief for the sake of aspiration: believing in a future of technologies, chemistries, and innovations that now seem impossible. The group looked at roadmaps from other communities as models that provided insight into how to build a successful roadmap for green chemistry.


Preliminary results from an ACS GCI survey of hundreds of chemistry educators were also discussed.  It generated conversation about the state of chemistry education. Although the workshop participants acknowledged that academic reform is typically a slow process, they imagined a future state in which academic and industry leaders have collaborated to develop a chemistry education with green chemistry fully integrated. Already, the survey responses have shown that most chemistry educators are including topics like chemical hazards and exposure in their teaching.


The workshop was dotted with broader hopes for green chemistry as well. For example, how green chemistry has the ability to eliminate a wide array of social injustices. Or, how it enables interdisciplinary approaches that lead to innovation. The practice of chemistry was discussed as something in evolution, becoming ever-more benign and evaluated through systems-thinking. As the meeting drew to a close, participants enthusiastically volunteered to take on responsibilities and to continue to work towards a shared vision.


With green chemistry, chemists and engineers can know that they are doing the best science, with the best ethics, for the best future.  We’ll need input from you, the community, as the roadmap progresses. Keep an eye out for updates and opportunities to contribute. We can’t wait to see where the path will take this community.




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Contributed by David Constable, Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®


I’m currently writing this on a plane as I make my way to Illinois to speak at the Midwest Association of Chemistry Teachers at Liberal Arts Colleges (MACTLAC). I’m honored and excited to be asked to these kinds of events for several reasons. The first is, the data we’ve gathered suggests that teachers at these institutions are doing more than many other chemistry teachers to integrate green chemistry and engineering concepts into their curriculum. I think this is huge because at most R1 universities, teachers of chemistry are resistant and often antagonistic to the notion that teaching chemistry within a real-world context is important. The more I can do to encourage a change in how chemistry is taught, the more hope I have that society can and will change some of the less sustainable practices we take for granted as just “the way we do chemistry.” I often quip that if there isn’t an explosion, a fire, chemistry in a glove box, liberal quantities of liquid nitrogen, or a reaction at 1000+ C, then most chemists don’t think they’re doing real chemistry.


The second reason is that I get to talk about our educational roadmap initiative. For those who have not yet heard about this, I would invite you to have a look here. We are deeply indebted to our leadership team, Dr. Jim Hutchison, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon, Dr. Mary Kirchoff, the ACS Director of Education, and Dr. Eric Beckman, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and to our ACS GCI Program Manager, Jenny MacKellar, for shepherding this initiative over the past year. During September, the ACS GCI invited a group of leaders in green chemistry and green chemistry education to a visioning workshop that will be followed next June, 2016, by a larger workshop of green chemistry leaders and educators. The purpose of the second workshop is to build on the visioning workshop and develop a roadmap for green chemistry education.


There were several insights developed at the workshop that are worth mentioning. The first is that developing accepted learning objectives for green chemistry in all areas of chemistry curriculum will be enormously challenging. The second is that in order for the second workshop to be successful, it will be essential to build out some of the visions that were created as part of the workshop. These visions have to do with the practice of chemistry, the pull for chemists by industry, what students need to know, and how to move chemistry curriculum forward. Anyone who is part of the chemistry education sector, and those that have come through it, know exactly how hard it is going to be to move this roadmap forward. This is not to say that there hasn’t already been a lot of great work by some chemistry educators who have made great progress down the path of integrating green chemistry and sustainability concepts into their curriculum. There are, but I think that it is fair to say that this has not been done in a consistent or standardized manner.


I can’t emphasize enough how important and pivotal I think this initiative is to the future of the global chemistry enterprise. I hope all who are reading this recognize the magnitude of this challenge and I am equally hopeful you recognize that the ACS GCI, or those that are part of the workshops and working parties, will not be able to do this by themselves. This is a multi-year effort that will require the hard work of many dedicated people to be successful. We’ve just drawn the line in the sand, and we need every one of you to help us move the chemistry enterprise forward towards more sustainable practices.


It is possible to do this, but it won’t happen on its own, overnight. Thanks for doing your part to make this happen.


As always, please do let me know what you think.






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Contributed by Ashley Baker, Research Assistant, ACS Green Chemistry Institute®


The list of companies joining the race towards sustainable rubber is growing. From startups to global chemical manufacturers, there’s a widespread push to develop high quality rubber that isn’t sourced from petroleum. Fluctuating oil prices, growing pressure to be sustainable, and virtually no domestic means of producing natural rubber are all fueling the search for a reliable, long-term solution.


Natural rubber and synthetic rubber each have their pros and cons. For example, most of the world’s natural rubber comes from Hevea brasiliensis plants, often called rubber trees, in Southeast Asia. This means there’s little to no geographic diversity in where natural rubber is sourced. On the other hand, natural rubber offers unequaled properties such as its ability to reinforce tires under the pressure of trucks and airplanes (Tullo).  New technologies for producing rubber focus less on which type is “better” and more on how to make the production of durable rubber more sustainable, efficient and cost-effective.


Natural Rubber


11055-guayule-plants-pv.jpgAlternative plant sources of rubber are gaining traction, and a little desert shrub has garnered lot of press. On October 1st, the Bridgestone Corporation announced the first-ever tires made entirely from guayule-sourced rubber. The guayule plant is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, and this renewable source is being grown commercially for its 5-10% natural rubber content (cis-1,4-polyisoprene) (Tullo).  The ability to grow the plant in the U.S. is significant; it offers a uniquely local solution to natural rubber.


The percentage of latex in guayule is low; moreover, much of the plant, and therefore the resources that go into growing the plant, becomes waste. Yulex Corporation, a small company in Arizona, hopes to change that. Yulex has an extensive guayule breeding program and plant genomics research facility, projects enabled in part by a $6.9 million U.S. Department of Agriculture Grant (Fikes). Their hope is to use these tools and advancements in biotech to improve the plant’s rubber yield, making the harvesting process more efficient and cost-effective (Metz).


Guayule isn’t the only plant that’s being bred for rubber production. At the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, dandelions are being investigated for their natural latex output, but they aren’t expected to provide the world’s supply of rubber by themselves. Like hydroelectric, geothermal and other sources are combined to provide renewable energy, dandelions could play one part in sustainably meeting the world’s growing demand for rubber.


Synthetic Rubber


Even with a wider variety of natural sources, there is still a need for synthetic rubber which is used in a range of products from shoes to medical equipment. Perhaps the most exciting development in synthetic rubber is the role biosynthesis might play in its production. A partnership between LanzaTech, a biotech firm, and a global polymer and fiber producer, INVISTA, could drastically change how synthetic rubber is made.


Butadiene is a key intermediate in the production of synthetic rubber and nylon. Rather than sourcing it from petroleum, this collaboration focuses on an innovative alternative: biotechnology that converts industrial waste gases like carbon monoxide into valuable butadiene. INVISTA and LanzaTech plan to commercialize this biosynthetic route to butadiene early next year. Not only does this technology enable renewable intermediates to synthetic rubber, it also creates value from what would otherwise be waste.


As with any industry, it’s exciting to see companies innovating to be more sustainable. With new tools, facilities and emergent biotech to develop alternative materials and renewable sources, rubber manufacture – a seemingly unlikely field – seems headed toward a much greener future.




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Contributed by Melik C. Demirel, Ph.D., Professor of Engineering, Materials Research Institute and Huck Institutes of Life Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University


Since the dawn of civilization, natural materials have been a fundamental part of human life and environment. However, in the 20th century, due to exploitation and high cost of natural resources, synthetic materials replaced natural materials. Recent advances in biotechnology and materials science have allowed the invention of eco-friendly materials that can be produced easily from sustainable resources in a broad array of useful applications including textile, cosmetic, and medicine. Proteins are key to the creation of many new, high strength materials.


Proteins have several advantages as natural materials: their chain length, sequence and stereochemistry can be easily controlled, (ii) the molecular structure of proteins is well defined (e.g., secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures), (iii) they provide a variety of functional chemistries for conjugation to other biomolecules or polymers, and (iv) they can be designed to obtain optimum physical properties. Proteins can be roughly divided into three classes (i.e., globular, membrane, and structural) according to their environmental conditions. Globular proteins are water soluble and provide a wide range of critical biological functions, for example, the enzymatic catalysis of chemical reactions. Membrane proteins, on the other hand, reside in hydrophobic environments and help signaling processes of cells. Structural fibrous proteins form highly hydrogen-bonded regular structures. Many fibrous proteins have been extensively studied such as elastins, collagens, silks, keratins, and resilins.


Squid have teeth-like structural protein inside their suckers, which serve for holding a diverse array of objects strongly. A book published by Williams a century ago in 1910 entitled ‘‘Anatomy of Squid’’ studied the squid arms and tentacles in detail but incorrectly claimed that the SRT is a chitin-like substance9. Four decades ago, Nixon and Dilly studied the SRT and published an article1 in 1977, correcting the earlier mistake, which concluded that SRT is a protein complex. Moreover, they demonstrated that SRT has submicron pores. Recently, mechanical and thermal properties of SRT have been studied to demonstrate that the porous structure is important for compliance under high forces2, and rubbery thermal transition provides strong under water adhesion3.



SRT protein exhibits an unusual and reversible transition from a solid to a rubber4, and can be thermally shaped into any 3D geometry (e.g. fibers, colloids, and thin films). Using the tools of molecular biology, large-scale computation, and mechanics, it has been demonstrated that these proteins have excellent mechanical, structural, and optical properties, in wet and dry conditions that exceed most natural and synthetic polymers5. Figure 1 shows a recombinant SRT fiber that is flexible and strong. This protein is a perfect candidate in textiles as well as a myriad of other materials in high demand. These materials range from disposable medical garments to fabric scrims for composites to commodity clothing items for potential use in textile applications. The thermal recyclability of the SRT can be exploited by molding it into nanotube arrays or micron size colloids. SRT has also been adapted for use in the artificial reconstruction of a Manduca sexta wing6. Utilizing structural proteins to accurately imitate insect wing characteristics opens the door for next-generation biomimicry, specifically in the area of mimic flapping-winged animals. With their tunable flexibility (1-10^3 MPa) and ultra-high thermal expansion coefficient (>500 10^-6 °K-1) structural proteins are also ideal candidates for optical devices. For example, optical lenses made from SRT would have great interests due to its transparency, flexibility, biodegradability, biocompatibility and molecular level structural tunability that cannot be achieved by rigid inorganic materials4.




We were able to cut a SRT sample in half and repair it by applying pressure and warm water as seen in the video above. SRT’s supramolecular chemistry provides self-assembly to achieve stiff self-healing morphology with soft/hard domain separation7. Segmented structure of the SRT protein shows soft segments with self-healing capability and hard beta-sheet segments that crosslink the structure. The ring teeth of squid was collected around the world -- in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, near Hawaii, Argentina and the Sea of Japan -- and it was found that proteins with self-healing properties are ubiquitous8. The underlying mechanism for self-healing is the protein’s ability to deform and soften in water above its rubbery temperature, while maintaining the hydrogen bonds reversibly7. Self-healing structural proteins provide not only high strength polymeric materials but also will help discovery of novel properties for clinical applications such as orthopedic devices for repair, and biodegradable gels for wound healing in the near future.



  1. Nixon, M.; Dilly, P. In Sucker surfaces and prey capture, Symp. Zool. Soc. Lond, 1977; pp 447-511.
  2. Miserez, A.; Weaver, J. C.; Pedersen, P. B.; Schneeberk, T.; Hanlon, R. T.; Kisailus, D.; Birkedal, H., Microstructural and biochemical characterization of the nanoporous sucker rings from Dosidicus gigas. 2008.
  3. Pena‐Francesch, A.; Akgun, B.; Miserez, A.; Zhu, W.; Gao, H.; Demirel, M. C., Pressure sensitive adhesion of an elastomeric protein complex extracted from squid ring teeth. Advanced Functional Materials 2014, 24 (39), 6227-6233.
  4. Pena‐Francesch, A.; Florez, S.; Jung, H.; Sebastian, A.; Albert, I.; Curtis, W.; Demirel, M. C., Materials Fabrication from Native and Recombinant Thermoplastic Squid Proteins. Advanced Functional Materials 2014, 24 (47), 7401-7409.
  5. Guerette, P. A.; Hoon, S.; Seow, Y.; Raida, M.; Masic, A.; Wong, F. T.; Ho, V. H.; Kong, K. W.; Demirel, M. C.; Pena-Francesch, A., Accelerating the design of biomimetic materials by integrating RNA-seq with proteomics and materials science. Nature biotechnology 2013, 31 (10), 908-915.
  6. Michaels, S. C.; Moses, K. C.; Bachmann, R. J.; Hamilton, R.; Pena-Francesch, A.; Lanba, A.; Demirel, M. C.; Quinn, R. D., Biomimicry of the Manduca Sexta Forewing Using SRT Protein Complex for FWMAV Development. In Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, Springer International Publishing: 2015; pp 86-91.
  7. Sariola, V.; Pena-Francesch, A.; Jung, H.; Çetinkaya, M.; Pacheco, C.; Sitti, M.; Demirel, M. C., Segmented molecular design of self-healing proteinaceous materials. Scientific reports 2015, 5.
  8. Demirel, M. C.; Cetinkaya, M.; Pena‐Francesch, A.; Jung, H., Recent Advances in Nanoscale Bioinspired Materials. Macromolecular bioscience 2015, 15 (3), 300-311.
  9. Williams LW. The Anatomy of the Common Squid. Woods Hole: Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole 1910.; 1910.




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Contributed by Reuben Hudson, Chemistry Postdoctoral Fellow, and Jeff Katz, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Colby College


Beyond solving an obvious energy dilemma, curbing our societal need for petroleum will also require finding alternative materials for a sustainable future. When filling up at the gas pump or heating our homes with oil we often consider how we’re tapping into a dwindling supply of fossil fuels. We often forget, however, that many of the advanced materials in use today are sourced from the same feedstock. Manufactured items not made from metal, glass, wood, ceramics, wool or cotton most likely come from petroleum: plastic bottles, bags, panels, casings, countertops, fabrics and much, much more.


If feedstock sourcing were the only concern, economic drivers would steer the market toward biorenewable alternatives once their price dropped below that of extracting and processing crude oil. Unfortunately, the fate of our petroleum materials and fuels represents an equally daunting concern. The net increase in atmospheric CO2 as a result of burning fossil fuels contributes to global climate change, and the environmental persistence of many petroleum derived materials leads to widespread and long-lasting pollution. We could be faced with a future where even after we've stopped pumping oil, evidence of these practices remain in the form of an irreparably altered climate and undegraded plastic trash still circulating in the oceans or clogging landfills.


In an attempt at more sustainable products, researchers more and more turn to materials sourced from renewable feedstocks and that persist in the environment on a time scale no longer than their useful lifespan. Toward these goals biodegradable plastics from petroleum have been made, as have non-biodegradable, exceptionally durable plastics from biomass. As both a biodegradable and biomass-sourced polymer, the bioplastic polylactic acid (PLA) is gaining mainstream acceptance as a sustainable material. Significant synthetic effort still goes into PLA production: lactic acid must be generated and isolated from corn or potatoes before its derivatives can be polymerized to form PLA. Circumventing the need for such involved processing techniques, some useful polymers can be derived directly from biomass. By feeding sugars to the right microorganisms, we can encourage them to produce polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which we can then extract and use directly. Rather than having engineered microorganisms build polymers for us, we can source them from organisms that would have otherwise built the polymers anyway.


The biopolymer chitin, the structural component of marine crustacean shells, insect cuticle, and found in many other biological organisms, offers an excellent strength profile from a materials standpoint. A recent report from the Weiss Institute at Harvard demonstrated the generation of large-scale functional objects such as cups, clips, chess pieces, and egg cartons from chitosan, a derivative of chitin, by dissolving the polymer in 1% acetic acid/water and carefully controlling the evaporation of liquid. Adapting their laboratory procedure for use in K-12 outreach sessions, in collaboration with Beyond Benign we similarly dissolved both chitosan and chitin in vinegar, poured the solution into silicone ice cube trays (molds) and let the liquid evaporate by placing the molds on a seedling heating mat.


By engaging young students in sustainability-focused outreach, we hope to inspire the next generation of scientists to develop materials that are both sourced from biomass and fully biodegradable.




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Is your organization facing new scientific challenges related to human health or the environment? Are you seeking a collaborative forum to help generate data, develop methodologies, or build consensus on applications for safety?


The ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) is accepting proposals until 4 December 2015 on priority emerging scientific issues (human or environmental health) that can be addressed through a focused, multi-sector collaborative program. The most promising proposals will form the basis of new scientific initiatives within HESI, and will receive supporting funds to initiate activities in the fall of 2016. Click here for more information about the HESI Proposal Solicitation process.

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The ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) is a nonprofit institution whose mission is to engage scientists from academia, government, and industry to identify and resolve global health and environmental issues.  HESI has a diverse project portfolio that improves public health by generating quality science in the areas of:


  • Safe and effective medicines
  • Environmental quality and sustainability
  • Accurate and resource-efficient risk assessment
  • Food safety


Proposal Selection Criteria:


  • The issue should be a priority for a broad cross-section (academia, industry, government) of the scientific community and should have current public health significance.
  • HESI’s efforts to address the issue will have measurable scientific impact.
  • Lengthy basic research proposals will not be considered. Proposals should reflect applied science as contrasted with basic discovery science.
  • Proprietary and product-specific issues will not be considered. Proposals should not include lobbying or advocacy components.
  • HESI's efforts to address the issue should not be duplicative of other groups.
  • Although not required, projects that come with matching resources will be given special consideration.
  • Proposal submissions do not require a commitment of resources or any current or prior affiliation with the HESI organization. However, proposals that come with matching resources will be given special consideration.


Many successful HESI Technical Committees originated with a proposal submitted through the HESI Emerging Issues Proposal Solicitation Process.  Examples include Sustainable Chemical Alternatives, Translational Biomarkers of Neurotoxicity, Genetic Toxicology, and Development of Methods for a Tiered Approach to Assess Bioaccumulation of Chemicals.


To submit a proposal, complete the proposal form and return it to Ms. Cyndi Nobles (HESI) at by Friday, 4 December 2015. You can also direct your questions to Cyndi. Thank you in advance for your scientific contributions!




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The ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable is seeking a one year R&D commitment to assist the Roundtable’s biopharma initiative. The focus of the R&D will be toward optimizing the water use in downstream processing steps for monoclonal antibody (mAb) production. Proposals are invited from public and private institutions of higher education worldwide. This collaborative project is intended for a student within the selected Principal Investigator’s research group. One grant is planned to be awarded and the total award is limited to $50,000 for a grant period of 12 months. Interested PI’s are required to provide a written proposal describing the investigator’s capability to carry out the Roundtable’s proposed research.


Deadline for receipt of proposals is January 31, 2016 at 5 pm EDT. All submissions must be emailed to The Principal Investigator with the selected proposal will be notified by March 1, 2016. It is expected that research will commence in the principal investigator’s lab by May 2016 and last approximately 12 months.


Requirements for Submission


Proposals will only be accepted from public and private institutions of higher education. The grant is not limited to institutions in the United States. Proposals must be submitted as a single pdf file by email to through the appropriate institutional office for external funding. For international submissions, if there is no comparable office, submit a pdf of a letter signed by an appropriate university official recognizing the terms of the grant.


Download the full grant RFP.






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To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Contributed by Cathleen M. Fry, Dallas R. Mosier, and Edward P. Zovinka, Department of Chemistry, Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA


Before arriving at Saint Francis University (SFU), many of our Chemistry Club members have never heard of green chemistry, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. Green chemistry is an integral part of the SFU lab culture. For the majority of the Chemistry Club members, our initial exposure to green chemistry was in our very first laboratory activity of general chemistry. Along with the safety introduction, the instructor outlined the Principles of Green Chemistryi  and we completed an activity using M&Ms to learn about E-factorii . Most of the SFU faculty also practices green chemistry principles in their own research labs. Their focus has been on using less toxic chemicals and producing less waste. While green chemistry was practiced in the laboratory, we, as a club, had a difficult time distinguishing green chemistry practices from sustainability.


At the 2015 ACS National Meeting in Denver, CO, we watched other Green Chemistry Student Chapters receive their awards, but we could only observe since we didn’t earn it that year. The club was upset, and we didn’t understand why we hadn’t received an award for green chemistry. Upon returning to campus and reviewing the Green Chemistry guidelines on the ACS website, we realized that our aim was off target; we had been focusing on sustainability activities and not green chemistryiii . While performing sustainability activities, such as checking the water quality of a local lake, are commendable community activities, they do not teach or train someone how to develop less wasteful methods in the chemistry laboratory.  In order to earn a Green Chemistry award, a chemistry club must ensure that the activity is directly connected to one of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry or the Design Principles of Sustainable & Green Chemistry and Engineering. Green chemistry awards focus on lab practices and educational outreach on Green Chemistry principles while sustainability initiatives focus on activities such as environmental monitoring or road cleanups. Using the information from the ACS GCI, we were able to focus our chemistry club activities towards the Green Chemistry guidelines – and hopefully earn some Green Chemistry awards!


Dr. Rose Clark.jpgTo begin the academic year in the spirit of green chemistry, the faculty and students signed an online green labs pledge to uphold the principles of green chemistry in our labs and to do their very best in promoting green chemistryiv . We also completed a SFU department and school Green Chemistry Commitment. The Commitment was a document stating that the Saint Francis University Chemistry Department would follow the principles of green chemistry and ensure that each laboratory used green chemistry as much as possiblev . The agreement was signed by Dr. Rose Clark, the Chemistry Department Chair, and Dr. Charles MacVean, Dean of the School of Sciences.


Another major project that our student chapter has worked on is a green chemistry poster. The poster was created by the four chemistry club officers and enhanced by asking faculty where they apply green chemistry principles in their everyday activities and incorporating their comments.  Overall, our poster outlined the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry in a fun and creative format and included ways in which Saint Francis University upholds green chemistry principles. Our poster will be mounted outside the laboratories as a reminder of our pledge to green chemistry practices.


Our green chemistry practices at Saint Francis University are extremely beneficial to the SFU students, as they enable us to be better chemists. Green chemistry is guiding us to complete experiments with safer alternatives, eliminating unnecessary chemical waste and reducing our energy consumption. We are producing less waste and saving money. More than anything, green chemistry is teaching students at Saint Francis University to do more with less.


iAnastas, P.T.; Warner, J.C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice; Oxford University Press, 1998.

ii (accessed 14 September 2015).

IiiAmerican Chemical Society. (accessed 15 September 2015).

ivMy Green lab. (accessed 14 September 2015).

vThe Green Chemistry Commitment. (accessed 14 September 2015).




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Food and Beverage Waste Makes Sustainable Carbon-Based LEDs Possible

GC News Roundup.pngOctober 16, 2015 | Laser Focus World Researchers have found a way to create light-emitting diodes (LEDs) from food and beverage waste, a sustainable use of materials that would otherwise decompose and be of no use


Target Incentivizes Suppliers to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals

October 15, 2015 | Triple Pundit

Target has posted a significant update to its sustainable products standard that is driving suppliers away from toxic ingredients


Calcium Carbide Replaces Explosive Acetylene in Organic Synthesis

October 14, 2015 | Chemistry World

Scientists have replaced explosive acetylene with cheap and benign calcium carbide to make common small organic molecules in a safer, cheaper and more atom-economical way, and at scale


Seeing a Commitment to Greener Chemistry at this Year’s ACS conference

October 14, 2015 | SciTech Connect

Elsevier hosted booth at ACS Nation Meeting, noted frequent green chemistry discussion


EPA Leaders Praise CSU Sustainability Efforts

October 14, 2015 | Colorado State University

CSU’s research and innovation efforts in green technologies and practices have grabbed the attention of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Commercial Boost for Firms That Suck Carbon from Air

October 14, 2015 | Nature

Two companies expand their extraction plants and line up customers


Natural Substance Found in Mussels Looks to be a Nifty Flame Retardant, Too

October 13, 2015 | Minn Post

Since California changed manufacturing practices by requiring foam-filled furniture, mattresses, infant clothes and other products be treated with flame retardants, policymakers and legislators have struggled with a difficult trade-off


Flick the Switch for Bacteria-Made Biofuels

October 12, 2015 | Asian Scientist

Using in silico modeling and simulation, scientists have engineered a more efficient enzyme for the production of n-butanol in bacteria


How Big Chains from Walmart to Whole Foods are Cleaning Up Chemicals

October 10, 2015 | Green Biz

As consumers increasingly seek more sustainable products, retailers have become a new voice for the chemical safety of the products they sell


Pushing for Green Chemistry

October 9, 2015 | Living on Earth

Ken Geiser, UMass Lowell Emeritus Professor, talks with host Steve Curwood about testing regimes and how we can make the chemical industry safer


National Chemistry Week-UC Berkeley-v2.jpg

National Chemistry Week: Molecules, Light and Natural Dyes



“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

Brand_Avatar_with title-200px.pngNew from the Green Chemistry Innovation Portal comes a unique opportunity to talk with innovative scientists about their green chemistry solutions. In this online text-based Q&A, we will talk about the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry’s Greener Solutions Program, a project-based class that partners students with organizations involved in sustainable chemistry. Interdisciplinary teams of high-level students work closely with the partner organizations to apply the students’ knowledge, analyzing real-world opportunities for the adoption of safer chemicals and materials.


Join us on November 10th to ask the masterminds behind the Greener Solutions program anything you like: how it began, successes, lessons learned, or technical questions.


Sign into the Green Chemistry Innovation Forum and begin asking your questions November 3rd. From 3:00-4:30 ET (12:00-1:30 PT) on November 10th, the innovators will answer your questions live on the Green Chemistry Innovation Forum.


The experts joining us for this session will be:


Tom McKeag, Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, Program Director

Kaj Johnson, Senior Director of Product Development, Method

Meg Schwarzman, Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, Associate Director


Tom and Meg will give insider perspectives on the formation and success of Greener Solutions, while Kaj will discuss how Method came to be involved and what the innovative personal care company has gained from the program. There will also be a student who will contribute a student perspective on the advantages and challenges of participating in the Greener Solutions course.


Mark your calendars and visit the Innovation Forum today to see other ongoing discussions around green chemistry!




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The Green Chemistry Innovation Portal: Connecting to Excellence in Innovation

Monday, October 26, 2015 |  1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT




Brand_Avatar_with title-200px.pngThe Green Chemistry & Commerce Council and the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® have partnered to create a new online platform for green chemistry professionals to share information and collaborate on research and innovative technologies. The Green Chemistry Innovation Portal is a free resource created to connect and grow the green chemistry community, exchange resources and information, and facilitate collaborations. Join us for this webinar to learn about the Portal—its features and how to use it—and to hear perspectives from academia and industry on the value of the Portal for advancing green chemistry innovation.



Tom Mckeag.jpgTOM MCKEAG

Mckeag co-teaches the Greener Solutions course, a project-based collaboration between an interdisciplinary team of graduate students and select companies to develop more sustainable alternates to current products. He is also an adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and teaches “Bio-Werks”, an investigative studio in the Industrial Design Department. He was a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, 2013-2014.


JOHN FRAZIERFrazier_Headshot-small.jpg

John Frazier served as the Senior Director of Chemistry for Nike, where he sought to deliver more from less by focusing on closed loops, greener chemistry, climate stability, water stewardship, and thriving communities. His duties included the development, deployment, and oversight for a variety of sustainability and product stewardship programs for the company. These included the Restricted Substance list (RSL) and Sustainable Chemistry Guidance, the Global Water Quality Program, and the Green/Healthier Chemistry Program at Nike. Mr. Frazier has over 20 years of experience, serving product engines in aerospace and athletic footwear, apparel and equipment, as well as environmental programs, through materials and process engineering and chemistry applications. He frequently provided supply chain training and presented at chemistry and water symposia, raising the environmental awareness of consumers, industry, students and young scientists.


Anna Ivanova.jpgANNA IVANOVA

Anna Ivanova is a green chemist at the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council, where she works to advance the adoption of green chemistry in industry with projects such as the Green Chemistry Innovation Portal and the GC3 Innovators Internship. She earned her M.Sc. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University, where she worked with the DOE National Energy Technology Lab on ionic liquids for carbon capture applications, and her B.Sc. in chemistry is from Caltech. Anna has worked in labs at Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and University of Oregon on projects related to green and sustainable chemistry. Anna previously directed communications for NESSE, the Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers.




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National Chemistry Week-UC Berkeley-v2-small.jpgThis year the American Chemical Society and chemists around the world are celebrating National Chemistry Week (NCW) in color! The 2015 NCW theme is "Chemistry Colors Our World", focusing on the chemistry of food colors, fireworks, rainbows, natural dyes, pigments, and more.


The University of California Berkeley has the perfect green chemistry lab experiment students can perform during this week of chemistry celebration involving natural dye molecules.


Light Inquiry: Molecules, Light, and Natural Dyes


Research Questions:


What procedure would be suitable for extracting β-carotene from carrots?  How can you determine how much β-carotene was extracted?


Learning Goals:


In this lab, you will design an experiment to extract β-carotene from carrots and determine the concentration of the resulting solution using visible spectroscopy and Beer’s Law. You will examine how changes in sample concentrations result in changes in absorbance and transmission. You will also be using a spectroscope to explore the interactions of light and matter.  This will help you to understand light, transmission, reflectance and absorbance on a more qualitative level using your own eyes as the detector.  This lab introduces you to spectroscopy and extraction. The solvents used are non-toxic making them Inherently Safer and allowing us to conduct the extraction using Safer Solvents. Additionally, the extracted β-carotene comes from Renewable Feedstocks.


See the attached documents for the lab activity and activity with teacher’s notes.


Take a picture of yourself and peers conducting this experiment during NCW and tweet @ACSGCI using #greenchemistry and #NationalChemistryWeek!



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Research delivers insight into the green technologies market segment forecasts up to 2023

October 8, 2015 | WhaTech

Developing alternates to technology which can reduce damage health and environmental pollution, and manufacture and develop product that can be eco-friendly to environment

Center for Catalysis Established on Campus

October 8, 2015 | InsideUCR

Center at the University of California, Riverside received approval from to focus on catalysis. The UCR Center for Catalysis brings together expertise in catalysis and nanotechnology.


New Biofertilizer Made from Exoskeletons of Crustaceans and Insects

October 7, 2015 | PHYS ORG

Researchers from the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (UPM-INIA) developed method to obtain clean organic fertilizer able to regenerate degraded soil caused by overharvesting.


First Sustainable Tire Made Entirely out of Natural Rubber Announced

October 6, 2015 | BT

Made from rubber derived from a desert shrub called guayule, all of the tire's construction is made from the natural rubber that is sustainable.


NMSU Researcher Explores Cost-Effective, Non-Polluting Geothermal Systems

October 6, 2015 | KRWG

Group developed new fracturing fluid that uses environmentally friendly polymer to create tiny cracks in bedrock deep below the surface of the earth.


Urine Recycled into Quantum Dots

October 6, 2015 | Chemistry World

Researchers demonstrated a one-step synthetic route to recycle urine into carbon quantum dots




“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.

2015 GC&E Presentations.png19th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference


Miss this year's Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference or not able to sit in on every session you hoped to? You can now watch over 130 presentations recorded at the 19th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference for free. Browse by symposium theme to find cutting edge science, industry case studies, and what's next in green chemistry education from the leaders in the field. These sessions were recorded July 14-16, 2015.


ACS Boston National Meeting


ACS members have special viewing privileges to the technical recordings from the Boston National Meeting held in August 2015.  Based on the meeting theme of  Innovation From Discovery to Application, over 300 oral presentations were captured at the meeting, including Plenary Sessions from Paula Hammond (Tailored Drug Release Surfaces for Regenerative Medicine and Targeted Nanotherapies), Pat Brown (Replacing the World’s Most Destructive Industry), and Karen Wooley (Targeted Applications as Inspirations to Develop Strategies Toward Functionally-Sophisticated Nanoscopic Macromolecules With Diverse Composition, Structures, and Properties).


Also included from Boston are Kavli Lectures from George Whiteside (Problems, Puzzles, and Inevitabilities in Research) and William Dichtel (The Spectacular Properties of Porous Polymers).  See these and all the new releases from Boston at Also available are recordings from the two prior national meetings in Denver and San Francisco as well as content from the July 2015 ACS Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference.




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