Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 16, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Agricultural and environmental application of biopolymers and bioplastic blends is the current focus of research in the Biopolymer Research Unit at the USDA, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Illinois. Polymeric materials with predictable properties and controlled performance are being developed by blending starch with other low-cost renewable polymers. Polymers like sugarcane-bagasse, citrus, and other plant wastes and residues have been utilized to produce wood adhesive, mulch films, packaging materials, biodegradable cast films, and melt extruded composites. Changes were assessed in the structure and properties of polymers in a complex matrix, and their environmental fate was evaluated, both in their native state and after various chemical, biological, or physical modifications. In particular, an overview will be presented to discuss the development of several such technologies including: (a) preparation, properties, and biodegradation of starch graft poly(methyl acrylate) loose-fill packaging foam, (b) development of a starch-PVOH crosslinked wood adhesive for use in interior wood construction, (c) development of starch-PVOH melt extruded films as well as cellulose- containing PVOH cast films for agricultural mulch application, and (d) melt extruded composite blends of crosslinked starch, PVOH, and cellulosic waste for developing graphic signs.