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Tuscaloosa, AL, United States

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2010

Lignocellulose has a remarkable resistance against chemicals and microbial attacks due to its complex structure. For the production of biofuels and chemicals the aim is to cleanly fractionate biomass and to utilize the lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose individually. The current pretreatment methods are either energy intensive or cause severe degradation of the components. A more efficient pretreatment method for biomass fractionation is in great demand which requires low energy, modest conditions, and recyclable solvents. New and efficient solvents and process technologies are needed to help unlock the promise of lignocellulosic biomass, and in this regard, the field of ionic liquids (ILs) might live up to its tremendous potential as a new class of solvents by direct dissolution of the components of biomass with mild conditions. By using a selected catalyst to break the lignin-carbohydrate bonds, clean separation of the three major components is possible based on IL processes. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The immediate outcomes will be used to selectively cleave lignocellulosic bonds allowing the ready isolation of pure cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose fractions and thus overcoming one of the Grand Challenges in the utilization of lignocellulosic biomass. This could have profound effects on the availability of reproducible biomass feedstocks for further chemical processing and lead to additional utilization of these biopolymers in advanced materials

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2014

525 Solutions will manufacture highly economical and biodegradable uranium-from-seawater sorbents from fishing industry waste, and provide them to government-designated mining companies, at the same time leveraging the governmental funds to create a sustainable chitin products business, enabling economic growth and job creation in both the chitin products and fishing industries.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 175.50K | Year: 2012

This Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR) Phase I project will utilize patent pending technology that allows direct dissolution and reconstitution of natural biopolymers to prepare chitin/alginate composite fibers with embedded additives for use in wound care products. The technology allows for solution blending and spinning of alginate and chitin (both known to speed wound healing, stimulate cell recovery, and be antibacterial) with therapeutic additives to produce composite fibers. This unique technology embeds the additives into the fibers during spinning, leading to slow release of the additives into the wound as the fiber absorbs water and becomes less rigid, and thus allowing the delivery of physiologically relevant doses of a therapeutic agent to the wound over an extended period of time. These fibers will a) possess the inherent properties of the biopolymers that increase wound healing and cell recovery, b) localize delivery of beneficial additives, and c) slowly release the additives over an extended period of time. In Phase I, the goals are to develop an understanding of the relationship between the relative chitin/alginate/additive composition and spinning conditions on mechanical and rheological properties (strength, elasticity, viscosity), water absorption, and additive release rates under simulated conditions as needed for the diabetic skin ulcer markets.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be the potential to reduce the duration (by ~40%) and cost (by 20-50%) of wound care treatment by developing a unique composite fiber with additives both on the surface and evenly distributed within the fiber, thereby allowing not only for extended release of the additives, but also less frequent dressing changes and decreased healing time compared to the current spray-coated fibers. The targeted skin ulcer treatment market is predicted to generate revenue of $7.4 billion by 2013, an increase caused by the rising diabetic population. A subset of this market where produced fibers are most applicable, the moist dressing treatment, achieved revenue of $315.4 million in 2008 and is expected to grow to $424.8 million by 2013. There is an urgent need for products that can improve healing rates and novel dressings incorporating innovative fibers that can be applied less frequency, last longer, and contain additives to promote healing, thus reducing patient care cost. The successful development of these specialty fibers for the diabetic ulcer market will provide scientific insight allowing for the customized production of composite fibers for other wound care and health markets.

Zhang B.,South China University of Technology | Zhang B.,University of Queensland | Zhang B.,Huazhong Agricultural University | Xie F.,University of Queensland | And 10 more authors.
Carbohydrate Polymers | Year: 2016

The focus of this study was on the effects of plasticisers (the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate, or [Emim][OAc]; and glycerol) on the changes of starch structure on multiple length scales, and the variation in properties of plasticised starch-based films, during ageing. The films were prepared by a simple melt compression moulding process, followed by storage at different relative humidity (RH) environments. Compared with glycerol, [Emim][OAc] could result in greater homogeneity in [Emim][OAc]-plasticised starch-based films (no gel-like aggregates and less molecular order (crystallites) on the nano-scale). Besides, much weaker starch-starch interactions but stronger starch-[Emim][OAc] interactions at the molecular level led to reduced strength and stiffness but increased flexibility of the films. More importantly, [Emim][OAc] (especially at high content) was revealed to more effectively maintain the plasticised state during ageing than glycerol: the densification (especially in the amorphous regions) was suppressed; and the structural characteristics especially on the nano-scale were stabilised (especially at a high RH), presumably due to the suppressed starch molecular interactions by [Emim][OAc] as confirmed by Raman spectroscopy. Such behaviour contributed to stabilised mechanical properties. Nonetheless, the crystallinity and thermal stability of starch-based films with both plasticisers were much less affected by ageing and moisture uptake during storage (42 days), but mostly depended on the plasticiser type and content. As starch is a typical semi-crystalline bio-polymer containing abundant hydroxyl groups and strong hydrogen bonding, the findings here could also be significant in creating materials from other similar biopolymers with tailored sensitivity and properties to the environment. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Shadid M.,Takeda Cambridge | Gurau G.,University of Alabama | Gurau G.,525 Solutions Inc. | Shamshina J.L.,University of Alabama | And 10 more authors.
MedChemComm | Year: 2015

The absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) properties of a cholinium ionic liquid (IL) salt of the poorly soluble drug sulfasalazine were evaluated in both in vitro and in vivo models. The IL exhibited about a 4000-fold improvement in saline solubility over the neutral drug and the improved solubility was translated to corresponding improvement in exposure where dose linear exposure after intravenous I.V. administration was demonstrated. Upon administration to rats, a sulfasalazine: Choline chloride (1:1) physical mixture and the IL had equivalent I.V. exposures at a low solution dose of 0.5 mg kg-1. However, the superior solubility of the IL enabled administration of much higher I.V. doses (6, 12, and 24 mg kg-1, dissolved directly in saline), which resulted in a dose proportional increase in exposure. © 2015 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Source

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