According to the British "Guardian" report, researchers from the University of Manchester and Queen's University of Belfast have jointly developed a mixed solvent of enzymes and ionic liquids that can decompose and dissolve hardened chewing gum stains on streets and on the sidewalks.
Mixed solvent of enzyme and ionic liquid
It is reported that this enzyme is a small molecule "scissors" that can be used to cut long chemical chains.
Researchers at the University of Queen's in Belfast proposed the idea of â€‹â€‹using ionic liquids to remove chewing gum stains, which is complementary to the results of researchers at the University of Manchester.
Ionic liquids are low melting point organic salts that have recently been used as a replacement for traditional organic solvents. It is important that most ionic liquids are biodegradable and will not pollute the environment.
Researchers at the University of Manchester and Queen's University of Belfast combined enzymes and ionic liquids to form a joint development team. In the past two years, the team tested a mixture of multiple ionic liquids and different types of enzymes.
Stain cleaning costs are high
The joint development team has raised 1 million pounds (about 1.95 million U.S. dollars) in research funding and intends to commercialize the new cleanser within one year.
Compared to traditional cleaning methods, this cleaner has obvious advantages. The cleaning methods widely used at the moment are the use of high-pressure steam pipes or solvents such as acetone and ether. However, the former is expensive and the noise is large; the latter is a corrosive chemical substance that easily damages the environment and cannot be used in public places.
The Guardian said that about 28 million Britons consume 935 million packs of chewing gum each year. The British urban and rural areas have also left a lot of chewing gum stains. In London's Oxford Street alone, staff recently cleared 300,000 chewing gum stains.
Chewing gum stains are quite difficult to clean up, and they are extremely expensive. Cleanup costs for a chewing gum stain exceed 3 times the selling price. In 2007, a British chewing gum was priced at 3 pounds (about 5.85 US dollars), and cleaning costs of 10 pounds (about 19.5 US dollars). Because of this, the problem of chewing gum has caught the attention of researchers.