When life hands you lemons, make bioplastics!

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In Spain, scientists at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia have developed a production route from the lemon extract limonene and carbon dioxide to ubiquitous plastic polycarbonate.

Several million metric tons of polycarbonate are produced annually, and there are carcinogenicity and endocrine-disruption concerns surrounding one of its precursors, bisphenol-A. Several countries have gone as far as to ban the use of BPA in the production of baby bottles.

“Our approach replaces [BPA] with limonene, which can be isolated from lemons and oranges, giving us a much greener, more sustainable alternative,” lead researcher Arjan Kleij tells the India Times. The limonene-derived polymer also has the highest glass transition temperature ever reported for a polycarbonate.