Humble Bio, based in Wellington, New Zealand, is recreating bioplastics from bee DNA.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Humble Bee Bio’s work is the biological inspiration behind it—a particular species of solitary bee known as the Australian masked bee. This bee produces a special bioplastic to waterproof its nests and safeguard its larvae.
Leveraging the bee’s genetic blueprint, Humble Bee Bio is advancing methods to mass-produce this material using microbial manufacturing.
This bee DNA thus serves as a versatile platform for engineering sustainable materials, with potential properties that can be customized for a range of plastics, textiles and coating applications.
These unique properties include:
- Heat Resistance: The material can undergo heating and cooling cycles without losing its integrity, reassembling post-thermal changes.
- Solvent Resistance: It stands strong against industrial solvents, opening up avenues for its use in protective applications and coatings.
- Water Resistance: The material is hydrophobic and exhibits waterproofing properties.
- Base Resistance: The material can withstand strong bases like caustic soda.
- Acid Resistance: Remarkably, it can resist acids that are seven times stronger than stomach acid.
Beyond its intriguing performance characteristics, the bioplastic being developed by Humble Bee Bio is designed to be fully biodegradable and sustainable.
The company aligns its objectives closely with six of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing its deeply-rooted commitment to environmental and social responsibility.