It’s no secret that chemistry is changing – but maybe not fast enough. And this particularly reflects in the world of biotechnology. Today we don’t have to stick to small chemistry molecules – we can make a mixture of big natural molecules and small molecules, using for instance the juice extracted from grapes or citrus from lemons as we do at Biodx. That’s the new challenge for the chemical industry.
When you extract juice from say a pineapple however you can’t stabilise it with its own natural chemistry – you have to add a stabiliser because the natural compound won’t remain stable otherwise. Everything, even humans degrade in their natural timeline. If a person manages to stay alive until they’re 100 years old then that was the level of preservative they had – but that’s not the preservative inherent to chemistry as a whole.
Today’s biggest challenge globally is to get closer to a natural chemical than the current synthetic chemicals available. We’ve been making synthetic chemicals for a long time and understand this chemistry well as we know the behaviour of the compounds. But we haven’t quite got the biodegradability of those molecules right. What’s happening is those molecules are outliving their useable life and when we add a chemical compound to a process, whether cleaning surfaces or water or even giving someone an antibiotic, there’s a level of active ingredient needed to deal with the problem. At times we add too much and at times too little. If too much is used it doesn’t degrade and instead stays in the environment longer than it should, giving you the reverse situation – degradation. If there’s too little the microbes used to kill germs and bacteria become resistant to infections, which today is causing major problems worldwide.
The challenge to scientists is what level of chemical compounds to use and what levels of natural biodegradable chemistry can achieve the same result as synthetics.
Enter the big natural molecule and the small chemistry molecule. This is the space that biotechnology is filling at the moment where we have the ability to take a big natural molecule such as a citrus extract and stabilise or bond it to a small molecule from a chemistry structure allowing you to achieve a much higher grade of compliance. By bringing in higher levels of efficacy you would need to use less product to achieve the same result, whilst maintaining a high biodegradable component that will determine how long a product’s life will be in an unregulated system. Biodx understands this science and what it should be contained for.
There are a number of factors influencing the lack of change by the bigger chemical companies. Many have been around from 30 – 100 years plus so their chemistry models and offering to the market are very exact and based on old technologies. An enormous amount of research and development has gone into current chemical compounds – but if these were developed before the nineties the words climate change and the damage these poisonous compounds could cause was not an issue. The cost of changing infrastructures is a big deterrent to changing their products and sadly legislation doesn’t help.
Even though the European legislation framework makes registering a chemical compound extremely costly and time consuming, you can still get away with registering an old compound.
Today it’s an individual choice to purchase something green or not. For the consumer they will carry on buying products that keep their home germ free, without understanding the substantial damage and corrosion these compounds can do.
By making a compound that still carries anti-microbial activity without changing the base performance of the product adding a natural raw material – citrus, we meet the criteria for sustainability and renewability in every way. Let’s hope the rest of the world joins this movement – sooner, rather than later.