Biodegradable polymers

In the past few decades, biodegradable products and bio based materials have developed good interest since the fossil fuel reserves started to deprive and new policies were introduced for sustainable development. Biodegradable polymers provide significant contribution to a sustainable usage with decreased environmental impact. Owing to these reasons the market for environment friendly materials is witnessing a fast expansion, about 10-20% every year. As a result, biodegradable polymers are the desired topic of interest for research. Synthetic polymers are produced from petroleum resources. However, polymers are also produced in nature. These polymer chains are typically found in cellulose, lignin, or starch. Cellulose is very abundant in plants. Lignin can be commonly found in wood and starch can be found in plants like potatoes, corn and wheat. All of these materials are renewable and easily available. Unlike synthetic polymers, natural polymers contain nitrogen and oxygen and their presence allows polymers to biodegrade. Mechanisms of biodegradation includes the microbial degradation by soil microbes which secrete enzymes that breaks down the polymers into recyclable monomers and oligomers and the compounds released in the soil also enriches it. This can also increase the stability and longevity of landfills due to reduced volume of garbage. Since 2002 the production of biodegradable plastics was less one percentage of the total production of plastics and the most successful bioplastic in the market was PLA which was derived from corn. It is mostly used in packaging industries and it does not produce toxic byproducts in after it degrades the conditions with of high temperature and water allows PLA to degrade and its melting point of PLA is between 175 and 185 degrees Celsius. Biodegradable plastics are emerging in Europe and Japan. Many products that get packaged in Japan are sold around the world. Japan’s use of natural plastic packaging is a positive indication that this new technology will continue to grow in the future.

  • Materials of production of biodegradable polymer
  • Mechanisms and properties of biodegradation
  • Industrial applications of biodegradable polymers
  • Evolution of market for biodegradable polymers

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