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August 05, 2009

Polymer technology used to improve beer!

Beer Now here is a plastics application worth toasting. According to this BBC report and others, researchers at the Technical University of Dortmund, in Germany, led by Borje Sellergren have invented a process using 'molecularly imprinted polymers' to remove riboflavin (B2) from beer and other drinks.

Turns out that the riboflavin is what reacts with sunlight to cause poor shelf life and stale beer. Now by producing a clever molecular 'trap' they can remove the riboflavin before shipment.

AlphaGalileo reports "An important transition [for molecularly imprinted polymers] from being artificial receptors used in laboratory applications to being scrubbers capable of selectively removing unwanted, toxic or irritating compounds from many types of consumer products" - Nicholas Snow, Seton Hall University, South Orange, US

They actually form the polymer against real riboflavin molecules, then once the riboflavin is removed, you have a proper molecular trap for that particular thing.

Also, from AlphaGalileo, Antonio Martín-Esteban an expert in analytical applications of molecularly imprinted polymers at the National Institute for Agriculture and Food Research and Technology, Madrid, Spain, comments that Sellergren's polymer formation strategy 'is so simple and effective that it will most likely become routinely incorporated in the synthesis of a new generation of improved water-compatible imprinted polymers'.


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