Technology Platforms for the Valorization of Specified Risk Materials

Pooran Appadu1, Vadim Kislitsin2, Birendra Adhikari1, Lauren Mercier1, Mike Chae1, Phillip Y. K. Choi2 and David C. Bressler1.
1Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
2Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Mad Cow Disease (or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease of cattle caused by a misfolded prion protein. The areas in which prions most likely accumulate are referred to as Specified Risk Materials (SRMs). Until 2007, SRMs were used as animal feed and fertilizers. However, feed bans instituted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have prohibited their further use. In Canada, more than 300 000 tonnes of SRMs are landfilled annually at considerable economic and environmental costs. This provides the impetus for the development of novel technology platforms that converts SRMs into value-added products. Building on the legacy of success of our lab in converting SRMs into plastics and biocomposites, this contribution aims to demonstrate novel technology platforms for the conversion of SRMs into foams, adhesives, and flocculants. This contribution will describe the thermal hydrolysis of SRMs, extraction of the peptide component, and the current progress in the conversion of SRMs into foams, flocculants, and adhesives.