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Packaging to diagnostics: innovative products from bioresources

Our microscopes at Monash University are being used to help biorefining companies develop innovative paper products for high-performance, environmentally friendly packaging and paper solutions for everything from food preservation to PPE and diagnostic tests.

Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy (MCEM), one of Microscopy Australia’s Victorian facilities, is supporting innovation and development in many of Victoria’s leading Biorefinery companies via the Bioresource Processing Institute of Australia (BioPRIA), led by Prof. Gil Garnier.

MCEM’s expertise and state-of-the-art scanning and transmission electron microscopes have been very valuable in the development of commercial high performance packaging solutions for the companies Visy and Opal. Visy is a global leader in packaging and resource recovery for a circular economy. It employs over 7,000 people and provides end-to-end solutions across paper, primary packaging, fibre packaging, point of sale displays, automation, materials handling, logistics and recycling. Opal, a sustainable packaging and paper company, is Australia’s only manufacturer of copy, printing and inkjet papers.

MCEM was also used by BioPRIA, in partnership Haemokinesis, in the development of a world first, on-the-spot, low-cost paper diagnostic called GLIF, which can identify a person’s blood group in just one minute. GLIF is now manufactured in Hallam, Victoria, by Haemokinesis and is available commercially worldwide. In 2022 they donated almost $1 million worth of these tests to hospitals in Ukraine.

Furthermore, novel and commercial ready nanocellulose foams and gels, COVID protective paper gowns, and biomedical paper diagnostics have also been developed and optimised by BioPRIA researchers using MCEM. Along with this, MCEM has been instrumental in training a generation of BioPRIA’s highly qualified technical researchers and engineers, now leading the bioresource industry in Victoria, Australia and worldwide. At least 50 of BioPRIA’s articles published in the last 5 years have relied on MCEM instrumentation and expertise.

Stock image of cardboard packaging