A new biodegradable polymer made from guar gum as a replacement for plastics in the packaging industry
Environmentalists have raised concerns about the disposal of plastics used in the packaging industry. But in a major breakthrough, scientists have developed an environmentally friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable polymer that uses guar gum and chitosan, both polysaccharides extracted from guar beans and crab and shrimp shells.
The guar gum chitosan film produced with high water stability, high mechanical strength and excellent resistance to harsh environmental conditions can potentially be used in packaging applications.
Polysaccharide is one of the biopolymers with high potential for the synthesis of packaging material. Due to some disadvantages of polysaccharides, such as. B. low mechanical properties, high water solubility and low barrier properties, however, they are not preferred.
To overcome these challenges posed by polysaccharides, scientists created a guar gum-chitosan composite film, which is a cross-linked polysaccharide without the use of plasticizers, using a method called solution casting (a simple technique for making polymer films). .
“The superior mechanical strength, water-repellent properties and resistance to harsh environmental conditions of the crosslinked guar gum chitosan produced increase its potential for use in packaging applications,” a senior official with the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The packaging industry makes extensive use of plastic film as a packaging material. According to the official, commercial production of this biodegradable polymer will take some time to have an impact on the packaging industry.
The produced biopolymer composite film had high water stability, high mechanical strength and excellent resistance to harsh environmental conditions.
The researchers found that the crosslinked film produced did not dissolve in water even after 240 hours. In addition, the mechanical strength of crosslinked guar gum-chitosan composite films was higher compared to general biopolymers (biopolymers are known to have low strength).
The cross-linked guar gum-chitosan composite film was also highly water-repellent or hydrophobic due to its high contact angle. Compared to the film made only from chitosan, it had a low water vapor permeability.
DILIP KUMAR JHA