New UMass lab focuses on biodegradation, sustainability

STANDING OUTSIDE a new biodegradability lab at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth are, from left, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Deputy Director Pat Larkin, Mass. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Chancellor Mark Fuller, Dean of Engineering Jean VanderGheynst and PrimaLoft CEO Mike Joyce. / COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARMOUTH

NEW BEDFORD – A newly opened laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth will support research and product development in the blue economy, with a focus on biodegradable plastics.

UMass Chancellor Mark Fuller said in a statement that the lab will support “the rapidly growing blue economy by conducting research in important areas such as increasing ocean sustainability, monitoring ecosystems, producing renewable energy and developing new marine technologies.”

Students and faculty will collaborate in the lab to measure biodegradation of products in areas such as landfills, the ocean, soil, compost and wastewater, UMass said in an announcement, and will aim to accelerate sustainable materials onto the market.

The university established the lab with a $739,936 grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and a $450,000 investment from New York-based textile manufacturer PrimaLoft Inc.

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UMass Dartmouth is also partnering with the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole; SeaAhead in Boston; Paramount Planet Product in Maine; Radical Plastic in Beverly, Mass.; UMass Boston; UMass Lowell; and the U.S. Army Soldier Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center.

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at

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