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Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research

Students walking through the drumlin's woods

Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research


What Are Biomaterials?

Creating a Sustainable Future

Multidisciplinary approach to the development of new and functional, environmentally-responsible materials from renewable, sustainable agricultural feedstock, utilizing the following:

  • Synthetic Organic Chemistry
  • Microbial and Enzymatic Modification
  • Materials Chemistry and Physics
  • Polymer Physics

Photo-synthetically created carbon-carbon bonds manipulated to produce green, environmentally-friendly products, including:

  • Healthy, functional foods and food matrices
  • Functional, toxin-free polymers
  • Functional waxes and greases
  • Lubricants with specialized functionalities
  • Cosmetics
  • Fuels

Innovative & Functional Materials

Photo-synthetically created carbon-carbon bonds utilized:

To design intelligent materials capable of altering performance according to environmental stimuli at various stages of their life-cycle. 
For example:

  • Intelligent coatings for drug and fertilizer delivery
  • Functional waxes with tuneable porosities
  • Self-regulating lubricants which prevent degradation by controlled release of functional actives
  • Cosmeceuticals which alter functionality to block UV rays

As feedstock for a process which envisions material design as beginning with the definition of performance functionalities

  • So that all hierarchies of structural design are purposefully constructed, acting in unison to deliver specific physical, chemical, and biodegradation requirements

Ecologically Intelligent Design

Materials design which incorporates total life cycle functionality, and defined carbon-cycle timelines as key deliverables of functionality:

  • Design of materials including their ultimate safe disposal as waste in atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic environments
  • Total carbon accounting, both in terms of energy and materials quantified and modeled
  • Timelines and mechanisms related to carbon sequestration and release quantified and modeled
  • Accounting of all potentially toxic ingredients, and modeling of their impact on the environment

Climate Change Abatement

The world's use of fossil fuels, deforestation, and changing land use has resulted in the world's carbon cycle becoming incapable of processing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere.

This results in a net accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere, leading to global warming and climate change

  • Perhaps the most alarming threat to life on the planet earth, impacting all facets of our ecosystem.

With agriculturally derived feedstock for energy or materials, carbon released into the atmosphere is sequestered by successive crops, unlike feedstock from fossil fuels.

Biomaterials reclaim the rhythm of the carbon cycle and contribute immensely to the abatement of climate change.

Fuelling the Bio-Economy

Canada, with its low population density, large acreages of arable land, abundant water resources, strong knowledge base and culture in agricultural production and world-leading expertise in the logistics of post-harvest handling is poised to be a leader in the emergent bio-economy by:

  • Developing a strong knowledge base in agricultural biomass utilization
  • Training highly qualified personnel who will lead and work in the emergent biomaterials, biochemical and bioproducts industries
  • Creating highly integrated stakeholder communities composed of farmers, processors, scientists, materials handling businesses and consumers
  • Utilizing a strong knowledge base of the life-cycle of materials so that our world-leading role in environmental stewardship is maintained and enhanced
  • Generating growth models which incorporate sustainable materials design with business and ethical considerations, within a multi-stakeholder process‚Äč

Sustainable Agriculture

The sustainability of our rural communities and agricultural productivity is impacted by:

  • Climate change
  • Value and stability of markets for agricultural commodities
  • Amount of crop utilization to maximise utilization efficiencies
  • Degree of information sharing between new scientific developments for utilization and environmental stewardship

The Trent Biomaterials Research Program will play a vital role in helping to make Canadian agriculture sustainable by leading research to create new uses of agricultural commodities, engaging a vertically-integrated stakeholder community, focusing on creation of environmentally responsible materials, and ultimately abating climate change.