Iranians produce highly biodegradable nano plastics
Iranian researchers from University of Mohaqqeq Ardabili used nanotechnology to produce plastics with high biodegradability which can be considered as appropriate replacements for the existing plastics in future.
There is an increasing demand for green and eco-friendly packaging. Numerous researches have so far been carried out to use natural materials in packaging industry, some of which applied nanotechnology in the production methods.
Starch is not able to create appropriate film due to some limitations. Therefore, researchers have tried to improve applicable properties of starch and increase its competitiveness in comparison with other polymers used in packaging industry. Adding nanoparticles to starch polymer to create nanocomposite film is one of the most important approaches, which has been investigated in this research.
According to Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council (INIC), high hydrophilicity and low resistance to humidity and fragility of starch film in case of not adding appropriate softeners are the main reasons for the limitations in the application of starch in packaging at industrial level. Titanium dioxide is a neutral, nontoxic, and cheap material that can eliminate a wide range of bacteria.
In this research, starch was gelatinized in the first place and then titanium dioxide nanoparticles were added to it. Nanoparticles were next dispersed in starch matrix. Results showed that the presence of 2% of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the film increased resistance to tearing up to 24% but it decreased the pass of visible light, ultraviolet and permeability to steam 77%, 100% and 34% respectively.
Results of the research have been published in International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, vol. 89, 2016, pp. 256-264.