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Cambridge MP hails Xampla’s ‘incredible’ plant-based plastic during lab visit



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Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner hailed Xampla’s protein-based alternative to plastic as “terrific” when he visited the University of Cambridge spin-out’s BioInnovation Building lab recently.

Xampla packaging looks similar to the plastic in use today
Xampla packaging looks similar to the plastic in use today

Xampla has engineered the world’s first natural alternative material that acts like plastic but is made from plant proteins. The next-generation material has similar properties to synthetic plastics but breaks down without harming the environment.

Mr Zeichner said after his visit on July 16: “It’s plastic-free July and I know this has resonated with many in the city. We have seen world-changing science come out of Cambridge throughout history.

“It’s terrific for the city to know that it is once again a part of such an incredible breakthrough, and one the planet is desperately calling for.

“I was fascinated to see the work being done by the scientists at Xampla and meet the team of inspirational minds. I speak for the city when I say we are all very excited for what’s to come from the company in the coming months, years, and indeed decades. I welcome the very important work they are doing.”

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner peeling pea protein ‘plastic’ during his lab visit to Xampla in the BioInnovation Building on Cambridge Science Park, seen here with co-founders Marc Rodriguez, left, and Simon Hombersley, CEO. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner peeling pea protein ‘plastic’ during his lab visit to Xampla in the BioInnovation Building on Cambridge Science Park, seen here with co-founders Marc Rodriguez, left, and Simon Hombersley, CEO. Picture: Keith Heppell

The technology is the result of 15 years of research into the chemical properties of proteins, inspired by the natural strength of spiders’ silk.

Xampla, which is based on Cambridge Science Park, will be releasing its first products later this year, natural microcapsules for home and personal care products.

These products are cargo carriers for assets such as fragrances allowing the slow release of desired properties. Traditionally these carriers are made from plastic, which will break down into microplastics and pollute water systems. But now, an alternative is on the way – one which will break down into tiny amounts of matter which is edible to microbes and small creatures in the sea.

Professor Tuomas Knowles, scientific adviser, said: “Xampla’s next-generation technology is born out of Cambridge University. We strongly believe that the science has the opportunity to make a real difference to the planet as we urgently move to sustainable solutions to tackle to climate crisis.”

Xampla, from left, are CEO Simon Hombersley, scientific adviser Professor Tuomas Knowles and head of research Dr Marc Rodríguez Garcia
Xampla, from left, are CEO Simon Hombersley, scientific adviser Professor Tuomas Knowles and head of research Dr Marc Rodríguez Garcia

The technology has the capabilities to be extended to products with similar properties as other single-use items such as films and sachets.

Xampla CEO Simon Hombersley said: “Cambridge has excellence in sustainability research, and a good number of innovative spin-outs like Xampla are aiming to address global environmental problems.

“The visit has come at a really exciting time for the business. After years of research and development we prepare to launch the first products to market. We were delighted to host Daniel Zeichner and his team and look forward to more visits as we progress through the Xampla journey.”



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