Image courtesy of 3M
A polymer invented by University of Manchester academics is a key component material of the 3M™ Service Life Indicator featured on the new 3M™ Organic Gas and Vapour Service Life Indicator Filters 6000i Series. The filters, which recently won the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) Product Innovation Award, contain the University developed innovation – a polymer of intrinsic microporosity (PIM). The 3M™ Service Life Indicator is a new sensor for organic vapours that, when used in appropriate environments, indicates when it is time for a user to change their filter.
Workers in many industries are required to use respirators to protect against organic vapours, and, until now, there has not been a real-time way to determine when an organic vapour filter needs to be changed – with workers instead relying on estimated exposure and usage levels to estimate service life, or using odour, taste or irritation to determine when it’s time to change.
PIMs were developed at the University in research led by Professors Peter Budd and Neil McKeown, with the innovation being licensed to 3M by the University’s agent for intellectual property commercialisation, UMIP.
PIMs are big molecules with highly rigid and contorted molecular structures. These create tiny apertures of a nanometre or less in size, which small molecules can penetrate. Organic vapours are readily absorbed by the PIM and the sensor is designed to indicate when the PIM has absorbed vapours above a specified minimum level.
3M has also launched their new series of organic vapour filters to the US market. ”Using a respirator filter too long can lead to break-through of the hazard into the respirator,” said Alana Mitchell, Global Marketing Manager, Reusable Respirators, 3M. “In appropriate environments, the 3M™ Service Life Indicator can help protect workers from dangerous airborne organic vapours by helping remove the guesswork related to cartridge replacement, giving users the assurance that their respirator is delivering the protection they need.”
Peter Budd commented: “It’s great to see an idea, sparked over a decade ago, develop into a real product that offers a genuine benefit to people in the workplace.”
Current research is exploring other applications for PIMs, including their use in membranes for separating gas mixtures and liquid mixtures. PIMs have potential for the removal of carbon dioxide from power station flue gases, and for the purification of bioalcohols.
Click here to learn more about the 3M™ Organic Gas and Vapour Service Life Indicator Filters 6000i Series www.3M.eu/6000ifilters
For further information about PIMs research, please visit: http://people.man.ac.uk/~mbdsspmb
The University and Ximbio, part of Cancer Research Technology (the development and commercialisation arm of Cancer Research UK) are pleased to announce that they are partnering to make the University’s life science research tools more widely available to the worldwide scientific community. The partnership will begin with an initial listing of 7 antibodies from the laboratory of Professor. Martin Humphries, Professor of Biochemistry, Vice-President and Dean in the Faculty of Life Sciences.
The University of Manchester has been nominated as part of the “golden diamond”, alongside Oxford, Imperial, UCL and Cambridge, due to its thriving research activity and reputation as one of the leading research-intensive British universities. Honoured by remarkable academic achievements and a long list of Nobel laureates, the University of Manchester continues to provide the scientific community with breakthrough discoveries and cutting-edge innovations. Ximbio is an online reagents portal for the life science community and has been developed to change the way that research reagents are searched, sourced and shared. It aims to broaden the range of tools available to scientists globally and support and advance life science research. UMIP, the University of Manchester’s Agent for Intellectual Property Commercialisation (www.umip.com) and Ximbio have established and implemented a master commercial agreement. This makes it very easy to add the University of Manchester research tools to the Ximbio platform. The first researcher to participate is Professor Martin Humphries who has contributed seven monoclonal antibodies which will be made globally available on the Ximbio portal for researchers working on cell adhesion and signalling through integrins. These antibodies, directed against CD49e,CD49b, CD29 and CD151, have been generated in Prof. Humphries’ laboratory, by a very productive team with a strong interest in understanding the role of cell adhesion molecules in orchestrating the dialogue between cells and their environment. Amongst many others, his discoveries include the description of conformational changes in integrin molecules, which define the level of connection between cells and the extracellular matrix. Through the use of mass spectrometry and biochemical analysis, Prof. Humphries was able to understand the multi-component complexes of integrins, called adhesomes, and their involvement in cell movement and the different types of adhesion.
All the antibodies provided by The University of Manchester have been used in top level publications by Prof. Humphries and others, and their presence on the Ximbio website will undoubtedly promote and facilitate future research in the field of cell adhesion and signalling. For scientists looking for specific reagents to use in their experiments, Ximbio offers a fully searchable database, extensive datasheets, and supplier options, and in future will also feature peer reviews of listed products. Each reagent record can be linked to the originating inventor, enabling scientists and institutions to be credited for their work. Ximbio will operate as a business unit of CRT, and will focus on all areas of biology.
Melanie Hardman, Head of Ximbio said: “We have created Ximbio to be a place where scientists can share their research, and reagent companies can source new products, in a streamlined process that saves both time and resource. We hope to accelerate life science research.”
Edward Maughfling, Express Licensing Manager at UMIP said: “Research Reagents are a key component of UMIP’s Express Licensing strategy and we are really pleased to partner with Ximbio to make the University of Manchester’s research reagents available online.”
A company which has the capability to utilise synthetic biology to facilitate the production of propane has been formally incorporated and is seeking to develop industrial partnerships. C3 Bio-Technologies a University of Manchester spin-out, is based on cutting-edge research originating from the University’s Institute of Biotechnology, will investigate the use of micro-bacterial technologies in the production of bio-propane.
The company seeks to develop an economically-sustainable manufacturing process for full-scale bio-propane production.
Commenting on the formation of C3 Bio-Technologies, Director Michael Smith, said:
“This cutting-edge process has the potential to revolutionise the production of bio-fuel, forgoing the environmental issues associated with extracting fuel from non-renewable sources and drastically reducing the transport costs and carbon emissions associated with production.
“Similarly, bio-propane is a versatile, high-density energy source that does not increase the mass of carbon released into the environment as a consequence of using conventional combustion processes, because the carbon cycle is a fully closed loop.”
“The benefits of fossil fuel-based LPG (liquid petroleum gas) are already proven within the world energy market and a robust, reliable distribution infrastructure exists, which will enable the new volumes of bio-propane to be introduced to the market without significant change or investment from both local suppliers and consumers.”
Professor Nigel S. Scrutton, Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology and co-founder of the company, added:
“C3-Biotechnologies seeks to bring a cutting-edge process to market that has fantastic potential and is built on landmark research into the developing field of synthetic biology. We foresee a great deal of industry demand for this exciting offering.”
The first public introduction to the technology took place at the annual conference of UKLPG, the UK trade association for the liquefied petroleum gas industry, on Thursday September 10th.
The commercial structure of C3 Bio-Technologies is spearheaded by two long-standing specialists from Biotechnology Research and the LPG industry. Professor Nigel S. Scrutton is the Director of Manchester Institute of Biotechnology and Michael Smith is the Director of PressureTech Transport Services Ltd – a specialist regional supplier of LPG. UMIP, the University’s agent for technology transfer, will assist with early stage business development and intellectual property matters.
The process for industrial-scale development is currently being prepared for global licensing and companies with an appropriate level of established industrialisation are invited to submit an initial expression of interest to engage in preliminary negotiations for authority of use.