Unilever and Innova Partnerships have launched a joint venture biotechnology company, Penrhos Bio, to commercialise a technology that aims to bring self-cleaning surfaces to the forefront of the market.
The breakthrough comes in the form of an organic compound called Lactam which can block, or prevent, bacteria and mould on surfaces.
Unilever has been researching Lactam for over ten years, which is developed from natural chemicals in seaweed. The technology is being tested for use in numerous situations, such as self-cleaning banknotes.
'Natural Cleaning Process'
Lactam works by replicating the "natural cleaning process of seaweed; keeping surfaces clean and repelling unwanted invaders from its direct environment", according to Dr Neil Parry, R&D programme director of biotechnology and biosourcing at Unilever.
Parry added that Unilever has successfully reproduced the functionality of seaweed and is ready to trial its use in Unilever cleaning products.
Professor Steve Howell, the founder of Innova Partnerships, said that partnership is "currently working with licence partners" in areas such as banknotes and dental applications, and added that there is scope for "many more uses" of the technology.
The joint venture company Penhros Bio represents an opportunity across multiple sectors, including healthcare, textiles, and marine to continue researching and developing technologies that tackle issues requiring innovative technology such as Lactam.
These actions are subject to the appropriate consultations and approvals.
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