The most troublesome environmental problem today is the abuse of refractory plastic products. Converting biodegradable and renewable natural resources into traditional plastic substitutes is expected to solve these environmental problems. As a natural biological macromolecule, DNA has unique physical and chemical properties, including genetic coding ability, low extraction cost, environmentally friendly extraction process, good water treatment ability and perfect biodegradability. In addition to the transformation of genetically engineered bacterias to produce plastic raw materials and other chemicals, we can also directly synthesize plastic products through DNA. The specific process is shown in the figure below. All biomass is composed of four bases in DNA. Specifically, the amine groups derived from thymine(T), adenine (A), guanine (G) and cytosine (C) are reactive groups for nucleophilic addition reactions. By adding a Michael addition acceptor (such as polyethylene glycol diacrylate), based on the aza-Michael addition mechanism, the amine group will attack the carbon-carbon double bond of the polyethylene glycol diacrylate to form a nitrogen-carbon bond. Then the DNA will cross-link together. In this strategy, alkaline reagents are used not only as catalysts for Michael addition, but also as denaturants for DNA double-strands. This cross-linking process does not require thermal denaturation. In this way, scientists have achieved large-scale and low-cost direct conversion of DNA into a variety of materials, including gels, membranes, and plastics, without breaking the DNA into building blocks or polymer synthesis. With outstanding and unexpectedly useful properties, these DNA materials can be applied to drug delivery, multifunctional composite materials and everyday plastic items. Based on environmental pressures, in the future DNA synthesis chemicals may replace most petrochemical products based on petroleum products.
Fig.1 The process of using DNA to synthesize chemicals (Wang, D.; et al. 2020)
In the process of using DNA to synthesis chemicals, in which htDNA-chip® technology platform can mainly provide high-throughput DNA strands for this process. In a single run, htDNA-chip® platform can generate thousands of nucleotide chains, which can realize ultra-fast supply of raw material DNA for chemicals production. In the traditional synthetic process of complex plastic products, the decomposition process of polymer chains requires additional energy and a dangerous environment at high temperatures. At the same time, the polymer synthesis process involves a large amount of organic solvents, by-products and waste. However, DNA is directly synthesized through htDNA-chip® technology platform, and then DNA can be directly cross-linked immediately to form plastic in one step. This process does not require energy-consuming and time-consuming pre-processing at all. Introducing htDNA-chip® technology platform in your DNA synthesis chemicals process, you will get the highest quality DNA, the most output, the highest profits and the least pollution.
Fig.2 htDNA-chip® in the process of the production of chemicals
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