Submitted to: United States Japan Natural Resources Protein Panel
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 20, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Starch is a low-cost, annually renewable resource derived from cereal grain crops, including corn, wheat, and rice. Its unique physicochemical properties and inherent biodegradability make it an attractive raw material for use in a wide range of non-food applications. In particular, there is considerable interest in the utilization of starch in biodegradable plastics, where it can be used as either a granular filler or as a thermoplastic. Granular starch is useful as a filler for high cost biodegradable resins, such as poly(hydroxybutyrate-valerate). In addition to acting as a stiffening agent, the starch also enhances the rate of biodegradability in these composites, an important factor in disposable applications. With the addition of suitable plasticizers, starch can be converted into a thermoplastic and used as either a disperse phase or a continuous matrix. Extrusion parameters, such as screw configuration, temperature, and moisture content, play an important role in determining the structure/property relationships in thermoplastic starch compounds. Thermoplastic starch blends can be injection molded and extruded into films or foams. Results of ARS research in the processing and properties of starch-based composite materials will be discussed in this presentation.