INNOVATION: Plastic Made From DNA.

30. November 2021 | Plastics, Material | via


Plastic cup made with DNA. (Credit: Dayong Yang / Tianjin University (China))

In the effort to improve recycling processes, researchers at Tianjin University in China have designed an easy-to-recycle, biodegradable plastic made from DNA, according to an article on While alternative plastics derived from plant sources, such as cornstarch and algae, require a lot of energy to produce and they are difficult to recycle, the new material is made by joining short strands of DNA to a chemical derived from vegetable oil, which produces a soft, gel-like material. The gel can be molded into molds and then solidified by a freeze-drying process that sucks the water out of the gel at a low temperature. The researchers created several objects, including a cup, a triangular prism, puzzle pieces, a DNA molecule model, and a dumbbell-shaped piece. They then recycled these objects by dipping them in water to turn them back into a gel that could reshape them into new shapes.