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Last updateTue, 10 Dec 2019 11am

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Biomimetic polyester

The CSIC and the University of Málaga have patented a new procedure for the synthesis of polyaleurate polyester, a mimetic polymer of plant cutin, and its use as a biodegradable packaging material for food or active ingredients. It consists of a non-toxic plastic polymer which can be obtained from raw materials coming from vegetable wastes.

This biomimetic material is analogous to cutin, found in fruit skin, leaves and stems.The protected invention consists of a new method for the synthesis of polyaleurate polyester through a polymerization carried out in the melted state. The polyaleurate is a polymer that mimetize the biopolyester cutin, which is the mayor component of the plant cuticle (the continuous and lipidic extracellular membrane that covers the aerial parts of leaves, fruits and non-lignified stems of plants).

 

The new procedure uses neither solvents nor catalysts, saving in raw materials, reduction of waste and the production of a higher purity biodegradable material which can be thrown away without risk of contamination. It is also possible to give the desired form to the material, using different casts in the process. Due to the simplicity of the manufacturing process, its implementation on an industrial scale would not involve any additional effort.

The polyaleurate polyester obtained has a glass transition temperature of around -1.9 ºC, an elastic modulus of 17 MPa, water absorption of 4% relative to the weight of the dry sample and water permeability of 2.6-10-5 m/s. The result is a highly hydrophobic conformable polymer, presenting low water permeability, with an acceptable degree of plasticity and not toxic due to its chemical similarity with plant cutin. The material is completely biodegradable, making it ideal for plastic packaging for food or active ingredients.

The procedure also allows the use as precursor for the fabrication of organic wastes coming from plant and fruit industry, resulting in a 100% sustainable process.

Contact:

Ana García Navarro This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Área de Ciencias de Materiales
Vicepresidencia Adjunta de
Transferencia de Conocimiento - CSIC