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Teijin Improves Biofront's Heat Resistance, NatureWorks Strikes New Partnership

Teijin, the Japanese textile company that recently gave up its half of the joint venture partnership running bioplastic manufacturer NatureWorks, has announced its own plant-based material, Biofront, has been improved to perform nearly as well as PET plastic.

Biofront is made out of polylactic acid, a plant-based material typically derived from corn or sugar cane. Teijin says the newest version of the material has an increased resistance to hot and humid conditions, which it previously would break down in. The company says its hydrolytic resistance has been increased tenfold, and is nearly on par with typical PET.

Since 2007, Teijin and Cargill ran NatureWorks, which makes the polylactic acid-based Ingeo material, as a 50-50 joint venture. About a week ago Teijin left the partnership.

NatureWorks, though, has found a new partner in Avantium, a company that develops fuels and plastics, called Furanics, which are based on non-food biomass sources.

NatureWorks will test some of the Furanics polymers, seeing how they perform in fibers, electronics and other plastics applications. The testing is expected to take about a year, but could result in new bioplastic polymers for NatureWorks.

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