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Tech of the month: Humble Bee Bio
For the month of June we’d like to present Humble Bee Bio as technology of the month. They want to tackle plastic pollution by synthesizing the biology of bees to make novel bioplastics.
Oda Allum Larsen
Thursday Jun 16th 2022 01:28
Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastics products overwhelms the world’s ability to deal with them. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from costal nations. It’s not solely polluting our oceans, but also our lands, animals, and our bodies.

Humble Bee Bio has found a species of solitary bees that produces a bioplastic to waterproof their nests and protect their larvae from the environment. Using the bee’s genetic blueprint, they’re developing a method to manufacture this material sustainably, and at scale using microbes. The bee’s DNA provides a unique platform to engineer sustainable materials with tailored properties for multiple market applications.

The bioplastic is:
- Heat resistant, and it reassembles after being heated and cooled.
- Water resistant
- Resistance to industrial solvents, acids and strong bases, which is a potential advantage in protective workwear

Humble Bee Bio’s mission is to take plastic pollution out of the realm of individual responsibility and replace materials that are used by industry when creating consumer products. The company was founded in 2010. Since then, the company has identified and extracted the genetic code from the bee responsible for the nesting material and is trying to recreate it in the laboratory. They are aiming to prove out the concept in 2023.

If you want to see how they’re evolving, check their website or sign-up on their newsletter.

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