Submitted to: American Oil Chemists' Society Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/19/2009
Publication Date: 5/3/2009
Citation: Kim, S. 2009. Degradable Biopolymer Composites Made from Seed Proteins. American Oil Chemists' Society Meeting.
Technical Abstract: Zein is a prolamine of maize. Conventionally, 70-90% aqueous ethanol has been used to dissolve zein. Monitoring the variation of hydrodynamic radii of zein molecules in aqueous ethanol revealed that zein aggregates in the solvent and that the degree of aggregation depends on the composition of the solvent mixture. Zein has an amphiphilic characteristic whereby it forms micelle-like structure in its solution, and shows a molecular inversion as the composition of the solvent mixture changes. A wheat protein, gliadin, has similar characteristics as zein. The unique characteristics of these proteins are used for the production of degradable polymer composites from agricultural biopolymers. Micrometer-scale raw materials are coated with zein or gliadin and compressed to form a rigid material. Biopolymer composites produced with this technique showed promising mechanical properties. Incorporation of electrically conducting fillers such as carbon black and graphite into the biopolymer composite yielded highly conductive materials. The conductance of the final product was high enough to be used for commercial applications. The formation of nanoparticles from these proteins will also be discussed.