Green and sustainable chemistry is a different way of thinking about how chemistry and chemical engineering can be done.
Wherever possible, we apply green chemistry principles in developing Life Technologies™ products, including:
- Decreasing dangerous goods transportation
- Incorporating low- or no-toxicity materials into product design
- Minimizing hazardous substances
Products that demonstrate the application of green chemistry principles include:
Quick Gel Extraction Kit
Reformulating this kit to make it non-hazardous for transport.
DNA Gel Stain
Introducing a nontoxic, nonmutagenic gel stain alternative to ethidium bromide (a chemical agent that changes genetic material).
Zero waste enzyme production eliminates radioactivity
Thermo Fisher scientists developed a new fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay, based on a fluorescent dye, that eliminates radioactivity in the creation of enzyme-based product lines. Radioactive isotopes are costly to buy and dispose of, and they carry significant safety, environmental, and regulatory burdens. Radioactive waste has to be “decayed” on site: a process that requires storing the waste until it is no longer radioactive.
Replacing radioactive isotopes with a fluorescent dye reduced radioactivity by 60% in Carlsbad, California, and Austin, Texas. This new process also resulted in assay execution in half the time, with more accurate results.
This breakthrough has the potential to one day eliminate radioactivity in production of enzymes completely.
2013 Presidential Green Chemistry Award Winner
Scientists at Thermo Fisher Scientific manufacturing Life TechnologiesTM PCR reagents received the prestigious 2013 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in the category of Greener Synthetic pathways. This program recognizes individuals and organizations for successful research, development, and implementation of innovative technologies to reduce waste and promote safer chemistries. The innovative work involved novel methods for developing deoxyribonucleotide triphosphates (dNTPs).
Conventional syntheses of dNTPs are inefficient, involve multiple steps that require isolation and purification of intermediates, and use excessive volumes of toxic or hazardous solvents and reagents. The new methods resulted in reducing organic solvent consumption by up to 95% and other hazardous waste up to 65% compared to conventional protocols. By improving the yields and specificity of reaction, the ratio of mass of waste to mass of product has been reduced from approximately 3,200 to 400, leading to the elimination of hundreds of tons of hazardous waste per year. .
Learn more about Thermo Fisher Scientific business sustainability initiatives.