Argentinean Scientists Develop Biodegradable Material Similar to Plastic


Two teams of Argentinean investigators have been developing for the past three years a new biodegradable material from soy and sunflowers proteins that was recently awarded with the Dupont-Conicet Scientist Technologic Development Program: a 25 thousand dollars prize. Its main utility: agriculture and food packaging. Proteins to elaborate the material are obtained from soy and sunflowers seeds. Once isolated and dried, compost similar to flour with 90% proteins is obtained. Then, with water and other components, films of the new material are produced. "The material's main disadvantage is that proteins are permeable to water, and that widens the applications it can have", said to Argentinean newspaper La Nación doctor Adriana Mauri, one of the project's coordinators. Its advantages are that as soy and sunflowers seeds are used to make eatable oil, the material could be produced from oil industry's leftovers; and also, the material's permeability to gas: "this is great because food packaged with this could have longer conservation time", explained doctor Patricia Eisenberg, another project coordinator. With this prize, the team will begin to add other components that can help reduce the materials' disadvantage. One of the best applications of the material is to enhance bilberries' life, by covering them with a thin transparent eatable film. "A market that will require this type of materials is the organic food industry", points the expert. ::Via La Nacion

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