Formation of Bio-Based Polymer (Poly-Lactic Acid) From Potato Peel Waste and Blending with Chitosan Extracted from Fish Scales
Keywords:Biodegradable, Biopolymer, Chitosan, Fermentation, Lactobacilli, Poly-lactic acid, Waste
Most common forms of plastics are non-biodegradable and produced from petrochemicals. The synthesis of these plastics not only generate greenhouse gases but they also do not decompose for decades and are therefore difficult to dispose of. Polylactic acid (PLA) is a bio-based plastic made from polymerization of lactic acid. Bio-based plastics are produced from non-petrochemical sources and they can be biodegradable and compostable, therefore they are better for the environment. Commercially, the lactic acid used for polymerization is sourced from fermentation of corn. Corn fields get diverted to plastic production, whereas they could be used to produce food and therefore there is a vital need to replace the nutrient substrate used in fermentation. Recently, organic waste has been used to produce PLA but this has not been implemented commercially. In this study, a biodegradable bio-based polymer, polylactic acid was attempted to be produced. There is no standardized method for polymerization of lactic acid and therefore three different processes were tried out. These low molecular weight polymers were subjected to blending with chitosan, a polysaccharide that was extracted from fish scales. Blending of a biopolymer with another compound is a common process used to improve the structural properties of the polymer. Formation of a standard method for formation of polylactic acid can help replace conventional petrochemical plastics in the future and reduce the environmental impact of plastics without having to give up the luxury of single use plastics.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Radhika Gune, Athang Sawant, Neha Joglekar
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