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Making Products More Biodegradable With Starch

More Biodegradable Films made from Starch Complexes blended with Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH), which could “… dramatically enhance future production of food packaging, plastic bags and other synthetic products …” have been developed by scientists with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois – The starch complexes are prepared from “… high-amylose corn starch and fatty amine salts, which can be derived from soybean oil …” – When blended with PVOH, the new film can “… improve strength, enhance flexibility and improve water resistance … The coatings resist water better than those prepared from pure PVOH … ARS has filed a patent application covering the new paper-related technology, which should prove ideal for small papermaking companies. The technology uses ingredients and a production process that are both safe and inexpensive …”

Document Title: The title of the April 10, 2017 USDA ARS News Release is “Making Products More Biodegradable With Starch”

Organization: USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Office of Communications

Source: April 10, 2017 USDA ARS News Release

Web site: The April 10, 2017 USDA ARS News Release is posted at
http://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/2017/making-products-more-biodegradable-with-starch/

The April 2017 AgResearch magazine article, titled “Better Paper, Plastics With Starch”, is posted at
http://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2017/apr/starch/

Contact: Questions may be directed to George F Fanta who is a Research Chemist with the USDA ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois at 309 681 6356; fax: 309 681 6691; e-mail: George.Fanta@ARS.USDA.gov

Summary: The text of the April 10, 2017 USDA ARS News Release follows:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have developed a starch-based coating that improves biodegradability and water resistance in products like paper and plastic films.

While 100 percent biodegradable, starch lacks the flexibility necessary for many plastic and coating applications. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), a synthetic polymer, is usually used in films and coatings to provide flexibility. However, it has limited biodegradability.

At the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (http://www.ars.usda.gov/midwest-area/peoria-il/national-center-for-agricultural-utilization-research/ ) in Peoria, Illinois, scientists develop new value-added starch-based products to replace synthetic products such as polyethylene bags and polystyrene foam packing materials, which can accumulate in landfills. ARS chemists George Fanta and Gordon Selling, along with their colleagues, recently made starch complexes that, when blended with PVOH, improve strength, enhance flexibility and improve water resistance.

According to Fanta, the starch complex/PVOH blends have valuable properties not found separately in either material. The films could dramatically enhance future production of food packaging, plastic bags and other synthetic products.

Scientists expect to apply the technology to additional items, like clothing, in the future. For example, they envision coating umbrellas made of cotton with the complex rather than today’s reliance on synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester or acrylic.

The coatings resist water better than those prepared from pure PVOH, according to Selling. A drop of water on paper coated with these complexes remains on the surface for minutes and often evaporates before soaking into the paper.

ARS has filed a patent application covering the new paper-related technology, which should prove ideal for small papermaking companies. The technology uses ingredients and a production process that are both safe and inexpensive.

Read more about this research in the April issue of AgResearch:
http://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2017/apr/starch/

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