Canada's bioactive paper research leaders gather in Finland to accelerate development

    HAMILTON, ON, June 23 /CNW/ - Researchers working to develop inexpensive
paper that can destroy, deactivate and detect deadly pathogens, such as
salmonella and SARS, will share their expertise with the world as the first
ever international conference on bioactive paper kicks off tomorrow in Espoo,
Finland. More than 80 science, industry and government representatives,
including a 25-member Canadian delegation, will meet in the city northwest of
Helsinki for the conference, which runs from June 24-26, 2008.
    The field of bioactive paper research, led by Canada's SENTINEL Bioactive
Paper Network and Finland's VTT Technical Research Centre, is focused on
conducting the research and working with SENTINEL's industrial partners:
Buckman Laboratories, Ahlstrom, FUJIFILM Dimatix, Stora Enso, Sun Chemical,
FPInnovations PAPRICAN, Weyerhaeuser and Cascades Canada. Projects are
underway to develop paper products such as masks that detect and deactivate
airborne pathogens like SARS and work is also being done to make food
packaging that could signal the presence of bacteria such as E. coli or
    "Imagine the global impact when a strip of paper can immediately identify
the presence of contaminates in drinking water. This innovation will save
countless lives and billions of dollars in health care costs," says SENTINEL
scientific director Robert Pelton, Canada Research Chair in Interfacial
Technologies and professor of chemical engineering at McMaster University.
"This conference will work on finding solutions to some of the technical
challenges that still exist, but the paper's development is foreseeable in the
not too distant future."
    Some of the paper's development challenges include further enhancement of
biosensors and refining printing methods to enable low-cost use of common
printers. The conference's scientific presentations will explore the latest
research in these and other related areas, and will include a tour of VTT's
research and development facilities specializing in biotechnology and paper
coating and printing.
    "This conference marks an important milestone in this emerging field,"
says Tomi Erho, senior research scientist at VTT. "By joining the forces of a
large group of highly skilled researchers, we can share knowledge and
expertise, which will enable us to progress faster toward the goal of making
bioactive paper a reality."
    As host of the conference, government-owned VTT Technical Research Centre
of Finland will be joined by representatives from Helsinki University of
Technology, Abo Akademi University, University of Lapland, the Finnish funding
agency Tekes as well as from several industrial partners.
    The Canadian team is comprised of SENTINEL researchers representing
11 Canadian universities, industry and government partners. SENTINEL was
formed in 2005 with $7.5-million in funding over five years from the Natural
Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Another $3-million is
being contributed by collaborating partners such as the Ontario Centres of
Excellence - Centre for Materials and Manufacturing and the National Research
Council of Canada - Institute for Biological Sciences. McMaster University in
Hamilton, Ontario hosts SENTINEL's administrative centre. For more information
about bioactive paper visit

For further information:

For further information: Jill Wright, TKX Inc., (519) 851-3896,

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