[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Grass is focus of 1m green study
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (picture: IGER)
IGER has worked on several high profile projects
A 1m study hopes to use the humble grass plant to produce "green" chemicals for plastic and cosmetics.

The Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) said climate change made it essential to search for "cheap and renewable" sources for chemicals.

Its scientists based near Aberystwyth are experimenting using ryegrass, a species grown across the UK.

They will also be helped by a team from the University of Wales in Bangor.

Members of its Centre for Advanced and Renewable Materials (CARM) will play a leading role.

"Much of the previous work in this area has focused on fermenting starch from maize, but we think that ryegrass would be a better option for the UK," said IGER's Dr Steve Fish.


"Greater use of renewable, plant-derived compounds by industry is an attractive goal and we believe our research will ease this transition by creating new cost-effective methods suitable for the UK."

Researchers hope to extract lactic acid and succinic acid - both used commonly in cosmetics and plastics.

Dr Rob Elias, CARM's commercial manager, said the project was a major opportunity for Wales.

He added: "By working together we can really help address some of the issues facing the replacement of petrochemical sources of materials."

Funding for the three-year study has come from the Department of Trade and Industry and a range of companies, including high street chemist Boots.

Tributes to agriculture scientist
07 Jun 06 |  Mid Wales
Research centre to make job cuts
27 Jan 06 |  Mid Wales
Experts' crop disease cure hope
03 Jun 05 |  Mid Wales

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific