“Forever” Chemicals: Forever No More

If you were tasked with destroying something called “forever chemicals”, chances are you’d be leaning towards rather harsh methods. Incineration would probably be on the table.

These so-called “forever chemicals”, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are a family of organic compounds where fluoride replaces hydrogens atoms on carbon chains. They are very water and oil repellent, which makes them ideal for use in non-stick cookware, stain-proof fabrics and fire-suppressing foams. Recent studies, however, show that exposure to PFAS is linked to a range of health issues—from increased cholesterol levels to some cancers. Even levels of PFAS present in drinking water in as low as parts per billion levels can pose risks to human health. These risks are exacerbated by the tendency for PFAS to bioaccumulate, or become concentrated in the tissues of humans and animals.

Methods do exist to filter out PFAS from water. But what do you do when it’s time to replace those filters? Simply throwing out PFAS-contaminated equipment just moves the problem to a landfill.

Person getting a glass of water from a kitchen faucet.

Instead, these “forever chemicals” need to be destroyed. Most existing strategies for breaking down PFAS use harsh conditions, such as incinerating PFAS residues in furnaces or oxidizing them in supercritical water—water that is at more than 37°C and 200atm of pressure. Now, scientists reporting in Science have discovered that such extreme methods may not be needed to destroy “forever chemicals” (1).

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A Different Kind of Sustainable Growth: What’s Happening in the Promega Garden

Tomatoes growing in the Promega garden
Tomato season is ending soon, and Mike has already harvested 2,500 pounds from the Promega garden.

Summer is winding down at Promega Madison. Kids are heading back to school, sunset is creeping earlier, and a new cycle of academic research projects are ramping up. However, in the Promega garden, Master Gardener Mike Daugherty is still hard at work harvesting fresh produce that will soon become delicious meals in our cafeterias. As the seasons begin to change, I stopped by to learn what’s happening on the farm. Here are a few highlights that Mike shared.

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How Fire Coral has an Edge Over Other Species in the Caribbean Reef

Coral reefs are the most productive marine ecosystem known, providing essential habitats and shelters for fish and other organisms. Additionally, they help protect coastlines, support economies, provide important food sources for local fisheries, and so much more. Coral reefs are ecologically essential—but are continuing to vanish. Fire coral (Millepora) brings new hope to this marine crisis due to their unusual ability to grow in two forms and survive under various habitat stresses.

Bladed fire coral (Millepora complanata) undersea, Caribbean Sea, Cuba, Playa Cueva de los peces
Bladed fire coral (Millepora complanata) undersea, Caribbean Sea, Cuba

What Is Fire Coral?

Fire coral has been around for millions of years and is most commonly found in sunny, shallow reefs. They tend to grow in tropical and subtropical waters with many thriving in different areas of the Caribbean Sea, one of the planet’s most biologically diverse ecosystems. Fire coral resembles typical stony corals but has a wicked sting that can cause burning skin reactions, reflecting their relationship as a close relative to jellyfish.

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Promega Highlights Innovative Work with Brazil Young Researcher Award


In late May 2022, Promega invited the nine finalists for the Promega Brazil Young Researcher Award to present their work at a Student Research Symposium on the Promega Madison campus.

Scientists from around Brazil recently traveled to Madison, WI, USA as part of the Brazil Young Researcher Award

The Brazil Young Researcher Award program was created to acknowledge exceptional work by Brazilian students utilizing Promega products in their research. These student researchers were recognized for their achievements and were given the opportunity to present their innovative research to Promega scientists as part of a week-long immersive experience on the Promega campus.

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Promega Sourcing Over 20% of Global Electricity from Renewable Sources

Last summer, we announced our most ambitious sustainability goals ever. This year, as part of our annual reporting, we are proud to share that over 20% of our global electricity is supplied by renewable sources. This represents a ten-fold increase in our renewable energy usage over the past three years.

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Migratory Birds and Light Pollution

May 14 is World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). The overall mission of this globally recognized event is to raise awareness of migratory birds and protect them through recognizing issues related to their conservation. Over the years, WMBD has focused on issues such as climate change, plastic pollution, the illegal killing of birds, and barriers to migration. The theme for 2022 is focused on light pollution.

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Promega Included On 2022 Top Workplaces USA List

Top Workplaces 2022 Logo

Promega Corporation has been named among the best places to work in the USA with a 2022 Top Workplaces USA Award. The Top Workplaces USA list, announced on February 1, is a program run by research firm Energage to recognize high-performing companies based solely on employee engagement surveys. The surveys measure the level of connection, motivation, and commitment employees feel for their companies.

Energage believes that improving engagement can directly impact performance, innovation, retention, and talent attraction. The 2022 USA winner’s list is calculated by comparing the survey’s research-based statements to predict high performance against industry benchmarks.


I am able to perform science in an environment that makes me feel as though I’m growing as a researcher…

—Promega Employee Survey Response

A Culture of Work-Life Balance

Promega also earned a “culture badge” for Work-Life Balance. Employee feedback showed this factor to be the company’s strongest culture driver. Culture badges are earned for scores that are in the top 25% of organizations in the same benchmark. 

Promega Director of HR Organizational Development, Darbie Miller points out how much Promega employees value the flexibility to flourish both at work and at home. “It is meaningful to all of us that employees continue to experience a culture that prioritizes flexibility to balance work and personal life. We are honored to receive this recognition and also to understand how to continue to evolve the employee experience at Promega.”


My co-workers care, I do work that makes me feel empowered, and I have the flexibility to be a real person with a real life.

—Promega Employee Survey Response

#LifeAtPromega

Promega offers welcoming careers where employees can stay, contribute and grow. We challenge our employees to change the world, to have more fun, to bring their full selves to work— in short, to take on a career that means more. At Promega, our employees do just that. Here, employees play a role in solving the world’s most pressing problems, experience camaraderie, gain satisfaction and get reward. We challenge ourselves to improve our local communities, to create an open, inviting and inclusive culture, to foster a work environment where collaborative givers, continuous learners, and ambitious go-getters thrive.

Our employees make an award like this possible, and we are grateful for the talent they bring every day. With an eye toward the future, we will continue to build on a culture that values science, sustainable business, and human well-being. We believe that every one of our employees has the potential to make a meaningful difference. And they do.


“It [my job] allows me to contribute to the betterment of mankind, the advancement of science, and success of my friends.”

—Promega Employee Survey Response

Word cloud generated from Promega Employee responses to survey
The Top Workplaces survey asked employees what three words best describe Promega culture. This word cloud reflects the employee responses.

It [my role] allows me to be my natural, gifted, independent self while accomplishing the greater goals of the company and being part of something spectacular.

—Promega Employee Survey Response

Promega is a leader in providing innovative solutions and technical support to the life sciences industry. We are committed to science advancement for improving life in the global community. With branches in16 countries and over 50 global distributors serving over 100 countries

Our tools and technologies support a wide range of work. This includes cell biology, protein analysis, drug development, human identification, and molecular diagnostics. Promega products are used in labs for academic and government research, forensics, pharmaceuticals, clinical diagnostics, and agricultural and environmental testing.

Discover a career at Promega that will give you the opportunity you need to make a difference.

Are you a student who is exploring possible careers outside of academia? Industry has many opportunities for scientists. Read some of our careers blogs to learn more.

Relate Posts


Making Sense of Climate Change

Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to attend a virtual talk presented by leading climate scientist and communicator Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. She began by asking the audience to send in one word that describes how they feel when thinking about climate change. The responses popped up live in a word cloud on Hayhoe’s shared screen:

Anxious

Frozen

ARGHH!

Those words also describe how I felt when I realized the conclusion to my series of blogs on the 2021 Nobel Prizes would address the topic of climate change.

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Don’t Dump your Pumpkin! Post-Halloween Uses

Pumpkins have historically been a sure sign of the Halloween season in the United States. Although they are most used for Halloween, there are many ways to use pumpkins after those spooky October days.

Every year in America, more than 1 billion pounds of pumpkin gets tossed in the trash and wasted. Instead of leaving them to rot in the landfill, try one of these ways to get more use out of your pumpkin after this year’s Halloween!

Hopefully, after reading this list, you are able to revel in the fact that a pumpkin is not just for Halloween. Not only can this help you save money, save time, and cook delicious dishes, but it also takes a much more eco-friendly approach instead of wasting food or creating garbage.

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