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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Biobased and Other Animal Co-products Research » Research » Research Project #424047

Research Project: Crystallization and Enzymatic Degradation Studies of Blends of Poly(hydroxyalkanoate) and Poly(lactic acid)

Location: Biobased and Other Animal Co-products Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To prepare blends of poly(lactic acid) and poly(hydroxyalkanoate) biopolymers with various ratios and to investigate the microstructure and degradation of these blends.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Tissue engineering has become a well recognized technology for replacing or repairing damaged tissues or organs within the body. Biodegradable and biocompatible polymers are fast becoming the materials used for surgical implantation as opposed to non-degradable implants. Tissue engineers have often employed the use of synthetic scaffolds fabricated from poly(glycolic acid) (PGA), poly(lactic acid) (PLA), and their coplymer mixtures. These polymers, being biocompatible products, can be degraded either enzymatically or hydrolytically. Degraded components are eliminated through normal metabolic pathways. PLA, an FDA approved material, has often been used in surgical materials, such as sutures, or drug delivery devices due to its inherent biocompatibility and ability to biodegrade. However, due to relatively high cost compared to other polymers, PLA has not been used extensively. In order to reduce the cost and also to invent PLA-based materials with different properties, in this study PLA will be blended with poly(hydroxyalkanoates) (PHA) at different ratios, and the microstructure and degradation properties of the blends will be characterized.

3. Progress Report:
In this reporting period, project researchers made three types of biopolymer films containing sophorolipid (SL) at different concentrations. The physical properties of the SL-laden biopolymers were determined. The films were successfully tested for their antimicrobial activity. The rate of sophorolipid release was determined. A manuscript describing the study is in preparation.

4. Accomplishments