Bioplastic created using rice starch

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Finnish researchers have made a bioplastic from rice starch.

The new transparent, biodegradable material has a high degree of mechanical strength and good thermal resistance.

The bioplastic creation was reported by Virginia Nykänen and colleagues at Aalto University in their Green Chemistry paper entitled: “An Efficient and Stable Star-Shaped Plasticizer for Starch,” published July 10.

Usually films, which have been made by starch being treated with heat and water via a technique called gelatisation (that makes it suitable for traditional plastic processing techniques), are quick to degrade and become brittle.  

Virginia Nykänen and colleagues at Aalto University stopped this from happening by using a star-shaped molecule called AEEP (aminoethoxy ethanol substituted phosphazene), the lengths of which act as mobile hydrogen bonding plasticizer molecules whilstbeing connected to a central core. This, they say, effectively prevents migration and leeching of the starch molecules from the resulting plastic.

They say that no degradation is observed after two months and no clear tackiness is observed even during aging of one year.

The result is a clear bioplastic of high strength, which is obtainable from rice starch.