ATCHISON, KAS. — MGP Ingredients, Inc. has signed on as the lead industrial partner in the Kansas Bio-Plastics Commercialization Collaborative. The project is supported by nearly $1.3 million in federal funding and coordinated by the Kansas Bioscience Authority (K.B.A.). Research input for the collaboration is being provided by Kansas State University in Manhattan, Benedictine College in Atchison, Kas., and Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kas.

For its part, MGPI will lend its expertise and facilities to test new polymers and develop new products, with the dual goal of making bio-based plastics and end-use products fully biodegradable and cost competitive with plastics made from petroleum.

“This collaborative project represents a very exciting step toward increased development of innovative, functional polymers derived principally from renewable plant-based resources,” said Tim Newkirk, president and chief executive officer of MGPI. “We are both elated and fortunate to have a key role in this partnership effort to help bring new, eco-friendly products to the marketplace.”

In recent years, MGPI has conducted research and development in the area of plant-based polymers and resins for use in the manufacture of a variety of plastic-like consumer products. The company produces and markets the MGPI Terratek SC line of wheat starch-based biopolymers and the MGPI Terratek WC line of wood-based composite resins. Both lines are produced at the company's facility in Onaga, Kas., and supported by product innovation activities at a pilot plant located in MGPI’s Technical Innovation Center in Atchison.

“MGPI is proud of its role as a leader in the early development of bio-based plastics and products, and greatly looks forward to participating in this important new initiative,” said Sukh Bassi, vice-president of scientific affairs at MGPI. Dr. Bassi will coordinate the research program. “The successful development of the next generation of these products will help attract further private investment, create jobs, and provide tremendous economic benefit to Kansas. At our end, to help boost this process, we intend to strengthen our commercialization, as well as product development activities by building our sales and applications technology capabilities.”