Bioplastics and Biodegradation

Bioplastics are a type of moldable plastics synthesized by microbes or derived from plants which are improved by genetic engineering. These materials are not derived from petroleum resources like traditional plastics and they are exhibit biodegradability. Bioplastics are polymerized form of assembled similar chemical units known as monomers. The physical properties of the materials are determined by the type of monomers and the number of cross links formed between them. A high number of cross links indicates high rigidity and thermal stability. Bioplastics were discovered in 1926 and the first known bioplastic was polyhydroxybutyrate but its discovery it was overlooked for many decades. But improvements in genetic engineering has led to increase in bioplastic yield and several different were produced, bioplastics were established. Among the synthesized ones are Polyhydroxybutyrates (PHB) Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), which are synthesized by microbes from microbial fermentation using plant-derived sugars and starch. Bioplastics are capable of degradation by microorganisms or by water. This grants bioplastics the validity for it to be a material for fabrication into biodegradable bottles and packaging film. Also, the degraded products are natural metabolites, these biopolymers are preferred for in medical applications like controlled-release packaging and absorbable surgical sutures.

Unfortunately, Bioplastics currently make up only fraction of total global plastic production. This is a result of high production cost and low yield. But, increasing petroleum prices and the declining availability of synthetic plastics have led to the upgradation of the bioplastic technology and reduced overall cost of production.

  • Biodegradable Stents
  • Biodegradable food packaging material
  • Polyester and polylactic acid (PLA)
  • Glycolipid Biosurfactants as Surface Modifiers in Bioplastics
  • Biodegradable Plastic Blends
  • Synthesising polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • Lignocellulosic Biomass
  • Starch-based bioplastics
  • Protein-based bioplastics with antimicrobial properties
  • Biodegradation of bioplastics in environment

 

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