Let’s paint biotechnology to the wall!

Different acrylic colours that run into each other

In times of COVID-19, we are spending a lot of time at home. Some of us feel the desire to give one of the rooms or even the whole flat a new coat. There is only one challenge: From furniture to window frames and indoor walls, whenever something is painted it should dry and harden fast. This is currently being solved by adding so called siccatives, which contain heavy metals such as cobalt, copper or lead. But we all know that these are toxic and harmful to our health and to the environment.

No heavy metal fan?

In order to prevent us from this “highway to hell”, acib is looking for alternatives. The researchers found out that a special group of enzymes that is able to transfer electrons (eg oxidoreductases) can reduce the time of drying and hardening of paintings to a similar level like siccatives. In a next step, the research groups selected and engineered enzymes to survive the conditions in paints. Also the reaction of cross-linking resin compounds was improved and resulted in faster drying of paints without the need for toxic metals.

Painting with features

The process was patented in 2011 and in the meantime a lot of additional ideas have been developed in this context. This approach to a greener chemistry can be extended even further! As acib can integrate enzymes in water-based decorative paintings, we can achieve detoxification of harzardous compounds also by bacteriolytic enzymes in future. This could, for example, reduce the stench at public toilets, which is caused by hydrogen sulphide and butyric acid, or provide protection against potentially harmful bacteria in hospitals, schools or retirement homes.

Biotech rocks building industry

Another idea is to add bio-based compounds with flame-retardant properties. Paintings with such an ingredient could protect buildings! Since new building projects nowadays require a life cycle analysis, the availability of bio-based compounds is a clear advantage.

There are a lot of application fields and you can see: it’s not only a color anymore that you decide for. By choosing the right paint with the appropriate feature you can create a safe place for health and well-being!

Picture credits: Pixabay