Biospife provides global kiwifruit marketer with an environmentally-friendly solution

Engineered wood products made with adhesives from fossil fuels that contain formaldehyde are common place in our homes, but some can release compounds into the air that contribute to poor indoor air quality and pose health risks.

In a world first, the Scion bioadhesives team has developed 100 per cent biobased-adhesives and resins that could replace formaldehyde-emitting adhesives. With an increasing interest in sustainable alternatives in the global wood adhesives market, estimated to be more than US$4 billion, the opportunity for this environmentally-friendly glue to become commercially successful is very promising.

Made from natural sources, including forestry and agricultural waste, the Scion-made bioadhesives and resins are petrochemical-free, have very low formaldehyde emissions and can be made and used in existing manufacturing operations.

The technology, which has been developed over seven years, has been patented and trademarked as ‘Ligate’. The ‘green’ credentials of Ligate™ products will provide manufacturers with a competitive advantage over wood panel processors using conventional petrochemical-based adhesives and resins.

“Adhesives and resins made from natural sources have a lower environmental footprint and are considered more socially acceptable than their traditional formaldehyde-based counterparts,” says Dr Warren Grigsby, the driving force behind Ligate™.

Ligate™ has earnt a number of accolades since it was trademarked in 2016. In September this technology was named 2016 Biotechnology of the Year by NZBIO, was awarded a judges’ commendation for renewable innovation at the NZ Sustainable Business Network Awards and was a finalist for the Innovation in Sustainability and Clean-Tech category at the NZ Innovation Awards.

Chief Executive of NZBIO Dr Will Barker said, “The technology is a game changer for wood panel manufacturers”.

“We’ve spent years mixing and matching assorted ingredients to come up with the right recipe. This is the icing on the cake for our bioadhesives team,” says Warren.

The technology has been manufactured to mill scale and the first phase attracted significant international interest. Warren has spent considerable time in New Zealand and Europe profiling Ligate™ with manufacturers.

Scion and Alto’s innovative work has created an excellent, more environmentally-friendly product. It is great to be able to offer an alternative bio-degradable spife and we’re looking forward to engaging consumers and telling them about the science behind it as they cut, scoop and eat our kiwifruit.” - Alice Moore, Global Marketing Manager for Organics, Zespri

Investment: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment