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peptides as wood preservatives; electro-wood!

a 2x4 piece of lumber can be treated with antifungal and antibacterial peptides for about 1/10¢; new is that peptides can migrate with charge, and that you can variously "ground" or "electrify" wood, especially wet wood
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What if wood didn’t rot? Repairs on dwellings could decrease, making housing even more affordable. Nice things would stay nice, which is easy to appreciate.

There is already preservative-treated (pressure treated) wood but there is apparently a wide open opportunity to use antifungal and antibacterial (antimicrobial) peptides, (amino acid sequences smaller than proteins), to treat lumber, drywall, and such things as carpet padding.

From looking up other uses of antimicrobial peptides [link] dosing the wood with 1 microgram per milliliter; other alibaba octapeptides are $40/Kg, treating a piece of lumber as big as eight 2-liter containers of soda wide and long is about 16 milligrams of peptide, at 4 cents a gram, or less the 1/10th of a cent for a big board. Notably, this is much cheaper than some other means of wood preservation like Copper azole nanoparticles or even creosote.

Antifungal and antimicrobial peptides have some characteristics: Adjustability of their amino acid sequence to make them more positively or negatively charged, and thus to migrate faster at the application of electricity (electrophoresis, iontophoresis) to normally humid wood, or alternatively, wood immersed in a treatment solution under pressure.

The actual technology that makes this an idea: migrate the peptides electrophoretically into the wood; but leave the surface charged so it attracts (draws) the peptides back out to the surface, providing a continuous feed-forward of antifungal and antibacterial peptides from depth at the lumber to the surfaces and edges of the wood likely to be in direct contact with water

If you've seen the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch I can imagine a halfbaker coming up to me and banging a piece of wood saying, "This is wood. It is an insulator. It does not conduct electricity. You cannot attach a wire to it and ground it! (thwack!)", but, if at actual application the wood has some moisture, is rained on, in damp soil, or even immersed, then wood with ions in the pumped-in preservative is slightly conductive. It's like really dilute, but weakly conductive, and the peptides can follow their favorite polarity out to the edges and surface of the lumber, keeping fungi and bacteria from rotting it.

Where does the electricity come from? I like ambient RF. [link] says 2.6v at 10 milliwatts from a 1 cm^2 antenna. To you and I that translates into "Gee, this piece of wood has what looks like an RFID tag stapled to to the non-cosmetic side." Other options are photovoltaics. The energy from ambient RF or photovoltaics is sufficient, though minute, to migrate a microgram of peptide out to the surface of the wood.

This is particularly beneficial in moist areas like some of the developing world.

How quickly can peptides be migrated into lumber. Hot liquid process assists, another thing that assists is attaching electrodes to the hot peptide soaked lumber and doing electrophoresis or iontophoresis. Iontophoresis is published at peptides, and 20 minutes at a human body causes 1-3 cm of bodyward migration; Currents used at treating lumber could be much higher, and, as mentioned, the peptide is likely to be software redesignable (and screenable/testable) to be a highly charged, high mobility peptide.

It can of course be cold soaked iontophoretic/electrophoretic lumber treatment, but there are antimicrobial peptides already isolated from hot springs bacteria, and these, or optimized others, might retain function.

beanangel, Jan 12 2021

2.6v 10mw from a 1 cm square antenna picking up ambient RF https://link.spring...6/s40486-017-0051-0
[beanangel, Jan 12 2021]


       This sounds extremely dubious. Other than things like chitin, most proteins such as peptides will de-nature or oxidise very readily outside their "home" environment, which is usually a living entity; and there are probably uniciellular organisms that will graze them ....   

       Over to you, [bs] ....
8th of 7, Jan 12 2021

       My shampoo has peptides in it but my hair still falls out, so I must say that I'm not terribly optimistic about this idea.   

       I'm also not sure about the implications of the phrase "developed world" as the development rate remains quite high.
sninctown, Jan 12 2021

       Nice, a really long term food storage system for the bacteria. Fitting since we did use up all their oil.
wjt, Jan 14 2021

       Summary: injecting peptides into wood might stop it rotting or might make your house fall down, and might turn the wood into an electrical conductor.
hippo, Jan 14 2021


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