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Scientists build wood from waste

MATERIALS

RESEARCHERS at a university in the United States have discovered a method of making wood composites from sewage.

Scientists at the University of California found that during wastewater purification microbes help form a cell mass of unwanted carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous.

These microbes can be prompted to grow small granules of plastic within the cell mass, which can then be mixed with fibres of straw, wood or hemp to build a wood composite.

Dr Frank Loge, head of the research team that made the discovery, claims the material has additional properties to wood composites made using conventional oil-based plastics.

He said: 'The cell mass does make the wood composite a little more flexible. It is a property we are not used to getting from these materials.'

But he added that the material was only suitable for indoor use.