Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2003
Publication Date: 8/18/2003
Citation: Orts, W.J., Nobes, G.A.R., Glenn, G.M., Inglesby, M.K., Gray, G.M. 2003. Agriculturaly-derived polymer-fiber (nano) composites. 225th ACS National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 2003.
Technical Abstract: Prior to the industrial revolution, many products now made from petroleum feedstocks were made using renewable feedstocks. With increasing environmental, economic, and legislative pressures on optimal use of all resources, comes the need to re-establish the use of biobased products and fuels from renewable feedstocks. The USDA's Bioproduct Chemistry & Engineering Research Unit focuses on creating new polymer technologies in which underutilized components of crops and their residues are processed into value-added biobased products. Research activity will be highlighted in the following areas:(1) Composites and Nanocomposites from Agricultural Fibers: Development of new methods of isolating ag-fibers so that surface properties are optimal for use in liquid crystalline fiber/polymer nanocomposites. (2) Biodegradable starch polymers: Formulation of wheat starch-based packaging material, and agricultural fibers, and their commercialization. (3) Advanced Enzymes for Modifying and Hydrolyzing Biomass: Pioneering application of Directed Molecular Evolution (DME), to improve enzymes that modify surfaces and breakdown and cellulose from crop residues. The goal of the USDA research is to increase utilization of ag-derived biopolymers such as starch, straws, grasses and crop residues.