DuPont Industrial Biosciences Team Wins 2018 American Coatings Award for Research on Engineered Polysaccharides

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In their technical paper, the team addressed how DuPont Biomaterials has developed a family of engineered polysaccharides ranging in molecular weight, solubility and polymer architecture.

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For the first time, we can use catalyst design (in this case the enzyme) and process control to produce specific, tailor-made structures from a common monomer, sucrose.

Yesterday at the 2018 American Coatings Conference in Indianapolis, members of the DuPont Industrial Biosciences, Biomaterials Team received the prestigious American Coatings award for the most outstanding conference paper. DuPont’s Christian Lenges and Monica Harvey accepted the award on behalf of the team, which also included Natnael Behabtu, along with SYNPO’s Richard Milič and Jarmila Vlasakova. Their paper titled, “Enzymatic Polymerization for Engineered Polysaccharides in Coatings,” stood out to the judges among 200+ other submissions.

Historically, structural polysaccharides such as cellulose have been the backbone of early material science for applications in fibers, coatings and thermoplastics. In their technical paper, the team addressed how DuPont Biomaterials has developed a family of engineered polysaccharides ranging in molecular weight, solubility and polymer architecture. While the team is actively developing various end use applications across different markets for initial development targets, the use in coatings as presented at the ACS meeting is one such application. The team highlighted how DuPont Industrial Biosciences‘ enzymatic polymerization process offers the opportunity to allow for the rational design of polysaccharide polymer structure, architecture and material morphology.

“For the first time, we can use catalyst design (in this case the enzyme) and process control to produce specific, tailor-made structures from a common monomer, sucrose,” said Christian Lenges. “We view the enzymatic polymerization technology as transformational to provide new material options for a range of important end use markets. This technology enables access to a range of new engineered polysaccharide materials which are renewable and inherently biodegradable.”

Lenges will present the research Wednesday, April 11, at the American Coatings Conference in the “Biobased Coatings” track. For more information about the American Coatings Show and Conference, visit

The team members include:

  •     Christian Lenges – business development director for Biomaterials, DuPont Industrial Biosciences

Christian is focused on the development and launch of growth businesses to make industrially important chemicals and materials from renewable feedstocks. Christian has held leadership roles in Biomaterials since 2008, driving ventures toward commercial launch. He holds a Diplom Degree from the Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf and a Ph.D. in Chemistry & Catalysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  •     Natnael Behabtu – biomaterials application development leader, DuPont Industrial Biosciences

Natnael leads ideation, development and implementation of emerging and growth technologies to make materials with substantially improved environmental impact. His work is focused on application development of newly developed polysaccharide polymers. Natnael received an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bologna and he completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Rice University.

  •     Monica Harvey – technical service & application development specialist, DuPont Industrial Biosciences

Monica works to develop new outlets and applications for DuPont’s emerging engineered polysaccharides platform. She first started her career in DuPont Central Research & Development as a research scientist. Monica obtained a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Delaware in 2013.

  •     Richard Milič – head of the R&D Department Research II, SYNPO a.s.

Richard has been working with DuPont for more than 20 years. His work focuses on the development of alkyds, polyurethanes, acrylics and formulations on their basis. He graduated from the University of Pardubice in the field of Macromolecular Chemistry and after Ph.D. study, he continued at the University working in the Department of Chemistry and Technology of Macromolecular Materials, before starting at SYNPO.

  •     Jarmila Vlasakova – Senior Researcher, SYNPO a.s.

Jarmila focuses on formulation and evaluation of paints based on alkyd, polyester and polyurethane resins. She graduated from the University of Pardubice in the Czech Republic, Department of Chemical Engineering, then Jarmila finished her Ph.D. thesis at University of Pardubice, Institute of polymeric materials.

About DuPont Industrial Biosciences

DuPont Industrial Biosciences, a business unit of DowDuPont Specialty Products, works with customers across a wide range of industries to make products and industrial processes more efficient and sustainable. Through a unique combination of agriculture, biotechnology, chemistry and material science capabilities, we advance market-driven, bio-based solutions to meet the needs of a growing population, while protecting our environment for future generations. For updates about how DuPont Industrial Biosciences is helping customers deliver cost-effective products with superior performance and sustainability, follow @DuPontBiobased on Twitter or visit our website at

About DowDuPont Specialty Products

DowDuPont Specialty Products, a division of DowDuPont (NYSE: DWDP), is a global leader with technology-based materials, ingredients and solutions that help transform industries and everyday life. Our employees apply diverse science and expertise to help customers advance their best ideas and deliver essential innovations in key markets including electronics, transportation, building and construction, health and wellness, food and worker safety. DowDuPont intends to separate the Specialty Products Division into an independent, publicly traded company. More information can be found at

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