Scientists at the National Institute for Research and Technology Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA) have developed a process for bleaching pulp whiter, cleaner and the same quality as conventional through the use of natural substances. This method, performed in the Research Center for Animal Health (CISA), can be implemented in the paper industry.
Bleaching wood pulp in paper manufacture conventional chemical methods using expensive reagents or chlorinated compounds that are characterized by the emission of toxic and difficult to remove the environment.
Now, scientists at the Laboratory of Pulp and Paper of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) INIA have developed a method of bleaching pulp with a non-polluting natural reactant, such as enzymes. Thus, one can decrease the use of other harmful products or have a high cost for industry and hydrogen peroxide.
The enzymes used, known fungal laccases originate from the fungus Pycnoporus sanguineus and work by removing the lignin, a substance that gives color to the wood brownish, without altering other beneficial components such as cellulose, responsible for the strength of paper.
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The Institute of Organic Synthesis (ISO), University of Alicante, is leading the project Asymmetric Catalysis in Organic Synthesis (CASE). This project, funded by the Prometheus of the Generalitat Valenciana for Research Groups of Excellence and coordinated by Dr. Miguel Yus, will run for four years and will be key to the further development of synthetic methods in pharmaceutical industrial applications.
About one-third of prescription drugs in the world are natural substances themselves or prepared by chemical modification of natural products. 75% of what we can buy in a pharmacy has been prepared in a laboratory. The fact is that medicine arises from the use of natural substances, but if today we were to use only what nature offers us, we would end completely with all the natural resources.
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