Chemical Society announces EPA awards for environmentally friendly technology

ter and are found in many consumer and industrial products, including soaps, laundry and hard surface cleaners. Most surfactants are petroleum-based and some are harmful to the environment. Rhamnolipid biosurfactants are readily biodegradable, demonstrate low toxicity and are produced in a fermentation process from renewable resources. These naturally occurring biosurfactants have been used to recover hydrocarbons from oil sludge, to facilitate petroleum storage tank cleaning and for a wide variety of bioremediation projects. This biosurfactant was recently approved by the EPA for use as a fungicide for the agricultural industry.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (New York) This pharmaceutical and health care company developed a better route to paclitaxel, a cancer drug used to treat ovarian and breast cancer. Paclitaxel was first isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew tree. Harvesting the bark meant sacrificing the tree, which provides habitat for the endangered spotted owl. Bristol-Myers Squibb designed a semi-synthetic route to paclitaxel, using a naturally occurring compound found in the European yew's leaves and twigs. Further improvements to the process have led to the synthesis of paclitaxel using Plant Cell Fermentation (PCF) technology. This new process using plant cell cultures saves energy, improves worker safety and eliminates tons of waste.

Buckman Laboratories International, Inc. (Memphis, Tenn.) Recycling can be a sticky business when lingering adhesives on envelopes, magazine binding and other materials gum up the machines used by paper mills to turn recycled waste into new products. When built-up adhesives slow down paper machines, mill operators typically apply toxic solvents to the sticky gunk. But Buckman Laboratories found a novel enzyme to do the job more safely. The company's product, Optimyze, contains an esterase-type enzyme that helps hydrolyze a major adhesive ingredient polyvinyl acetate

Contact: Michael Bernstein
American Chemical Society

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