Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2014
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: An estimated 1.8 billion tons of waste are created annually from food processing in the US, including the peels, pulp, and pomace (PPP) generated from fruits and vegetables when they are converted into frozen or canned products or pressed into juice. PPP currently is sold as animal feed at low cost, but a large portion is discarded at an additional cost. The profitable use of food processing waste requires a strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the US food industry and cost effective ways to protect the environment from contamination. We have developed a method to make biodegradable bioplastics from food wastes in combination with other biodegradable materials such as poly (lactic acid) (PLA), a biodegradable material derived from fermentation of biomass. The bioplastics may be produced using existing equipment employed by the plastics industry. The resulting bioplastics possess mechanical properties that make them strong enough for use as food containers. They have enhanced water resistance and are totally biodegradable. Other examples of byproducts from food processing include the residue from corn ethanol fermentation, known as distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The production of DDGS has increased from 2.7 million tons in 2000 to 32.5 million tons in 2010. Experts predict that DDGS will soon outpace their consumption rate as animal feed. To convert DDGS to bioplastics is an attractive way to overcome this obstacle and is currently under research in our laboratory.