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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering Research

Project Number: 5325-41000-051-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 16, 2009
End Date: Sep 30, 2010

1)Use cereal or tuber starches to make polymer composites for non-food products. 2)Develop methods of processing starch composites into molded articles. 3)Convert agricultural fibers into biodegradable packaging, building materials and slurry-molded products. 4)Isolate cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose components from ag-fibers by applying environmentally friendly fractionation methods. 5)Promote technology transfer of these innovations. Conduct more basic studies of the structure and properties of microfibrils from cereal products and crop residues, which could lead to their eventual use in building and packaging foams, nanocomposites and related products.

Starch will be blended with other polymers to produce resins with useful functional properties for making renewable products. Blend compatibility will be enhanced by use of starch derivatives and compatibilizers. Resins will be molded into marketable items using current and novel processing technologies, accompanied by physical and mechanical testing.Fiber reinforced packaging materials will be made via a foam-baking process, extrusion, injection molding and thermoforming. Advantageous functional properties of agriculturally-derived fibers used in these packages will be correlated to fiber length, aspect ratio, freeness, surface properties, and miscibility. Ag-derived fibers will be pulped using novel procedures, such as hot-compressed water (HCW) treatment, an environmentally friendly method of isolating cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose via super-heated water. Processed fibers will be optimized by chemical, enzymatic and chemoenzymatic modification. Methods for isolating and characterizing cellulose microfibrils as nanocomposites will be developed/exploited. Formerly 5325-41000-039-00D (6/04); combining 5325-41000-047-00D (7/08); Replacing 5325-41000-044-00D (2/10).

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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