Food Safety Research Information Office
Title:Modification of Natural Polymers by Novel Processes
Objective:New biobased products and sustainable processing technologies are needed to replace industrial and consumer products made from petroleum based feedstocks. This project focuses on making polymeric materials with a variety of useful applications from starch and associated low cost coproducts of corn processing and harvesting.

In order to accomplish this, modified biopolymers with new or improved properties need to be prepared and processing technologies which are more efficient, i.e. use safer or less solvent, are faster, have more complete reaction and fewer byproducts need to be developed.

Specific objectives for this project include: 1) prepare novel spherulitic starch-polymer composites via jet-cooking; 2) prepare starch graft copolymers with controlled structure by reactive extrusion and evaluate applications; 3) prepare modified starches, celluloses and lignins with novel structures via processing with ionic liquids, microwaves and autoclave heating; and 4) prepare new starch and lignin graft copolymers as well as polyglutamic acid and polyhydroxyalkanoates by enzymatic and microbial catalysis.

Overall, this research will lead to biobased polymer products which will have new or improved properties, have lower cost, are more environmentally friendly and thus will be more acceptable to consumer markets.

More Info:
Potential benefits expected from obtaining objectives: Novel modified biopolymers will have properties and functionality useful in consumer and industrial applications currently served by petrochemical-based polymers, reducing the need for imported petroleum and natural gas.

Markets for petroleum-based polymers now exceed 110 billion pounds per year (4) or $80 billion in the U.S. alone. Of that, the market for water soluble and swellable polymers is over $3 billion/year in the U.S. and $10 billion worldwide (5). Typical petroleum based polymers with which modified starches and PGA could compete includes polyacrylates, polyacrylamide, and polyvinyl alcohol. Markets for plastics used for packaging in the U.S. are currently about $20 billion/year. Microbial PHA's and polymer composites with starch microparticles or lignocellulose microfibrils could substitute for polystyrene or polyolefins. Fiber filled polyolefins are now used extensively for auto body parts and corn-derived lignocellulose microfibrils could compete in that market as well. Markets for adhesives amount to over $8 billion/year in the U.S. and over $21 billion worldwide.

Due to increased restrictions on petroleum based solvents, demand for water dispersible adhesives and coatings is growing rapidly. Likewise, concern about formaldehyde use in wood adhesives is growing. Starch and lignin based materials would be well suited for these markets if more efficient production methods were devised and properties improved.

Funding Source:United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Type:Appropriated
Start Date:2010
End Date:2015
Project Number:3620-41000-160-00
Institutions:USDA/ARS - Midwest Area
Investigators:Shogren, Randal
Project Reports:2013 Annual Report
2012 Annual Report
2011 Annual Report
Published Journal
Articles USDA
ARS (NP 108):
Direct polymerization of vernonia oil through cationic means
Biswas T, Cheng J, Klasson KT, Liu Z, Berfield J, Ayoride, F.
J Am Oil Chem Soc. 2014 Oct;:1-6.
Properties of extruded starch–poly(methyl acrylate) graft copolymers prepared from spherulites formed from amylose–oleic acid inclusion complexes
Fanta GF, Finkenstadt VL, Felker FC.
J Appl Polymer Sci. 2014 Jun 15;131(12):40381.
Modified Triglyceride Oil Through Reactions with Phenyltriazolinedione
Biswas A, Cheng HN, Kim S, Liu Z.
J Am Oil Chem Soc. 2014 Jan;91(1):125-31.
Rheological properties of reactive extrusion modified waxy starch and waxy starch-polyacrylamide copolymer gels
Xu J, Finkenstadt VL.
Starch-Starke. 2013 Nov;65(11-12):984-90.
Viscoelastic properties of oat β-glucan-rich aqueous dispersions
Xu J, Inglett GE, Chen D, Liu SX.
Food Chem. 2013 May 1;138(1):186-91.
Microwave-assisted synthesis of alkyl cellulose in aqueous medium
Biswas A, Kim S, Selling GW, Cheng HN.
Carbohydr Polym. 2013 Apr 15;94(1):120-3.
Conversion of agricultural by-products to methyl cellulose
Biswas A, Berfield JL, Saha BC, Cheng HN.
Ind Crops Prod. 2013 Apr;46:297-300.
Preparation of starch-stabilized silver nanoparticles from amylose–sodium palmitate inclusion complexes
Fanta GF, Kenar JA, Felker FC, Byars JA.
Carbohydr Polym. 2013 Jan 30;92(1):260-8.
Preparation of starch–sodium lignosulfonate graft copolymers via laccase catalysis and characterization of antioxidant activity
Shogren RL, Biswas A.
Carbohydr Polym. 2013 Jan 16;91(2):581-5.
Use of nutshells as fillers in polymer composites
Sutivisedsak N, Cheng HN, Burks CS, Johnson JA, Siegel JP, Civerolo EL, Biswas A.
J Polym Environ. 2012 Jun;20(2):305-14.
Evaluation of cotton byproducts as fillers for poly(lactic acid) and low density polyethylene
Sutivisedsak N, Cheng HN, Dowd MK, Selling W, Biswas A.
Ind Crops Prod. 2012 Mar;36(1):127-34.
Mechanical, thermal, and moisture properties of plastics with bean as filler
Sutivisedsak N, Cheng HN, Liu SX, Lesch WC, Finkenstadt VL, Biswas A.
J Biobased Mater Bio. 2012 Feb;6(1):59-68.
Preparation and characterization of cellulose gels from corn cobs
Shogren RL, Peterson SC, Evans KO, Kenar JA.
Carbohydr Polym. 2011 Aug 30;86(3):1351-7.
Non-Journal Publications:
Rheological properties of a biological thermo-responsive hydrogel prepared from vegetable oil - (Abstract Only)
Xu, J., Liu, Z., Kim, S., Liu, S.X. 2014. Rheological properties of a biological thermo-responsive hydrogel prepared from vegetable oil. Meeting Abstract.
Applications of common beans in food and biobased materials - (Book / Chapter)
Biswas, A., Lesch, W.C., Cheng, H.N. 2013. Applications of common beans in food and biobased materials. In: Cheng, H.N., Gross, R.A., Smith, P.B., editors. Green Polymer Chemistry: Biocatalysis and Materials II. ACS Symposium Series 1144:331-341.
Multiple-particle tracking study of the microheterogeneity of beta-glucan-rich hydrocolloidal extractive suspensions - (Abstract Only)
Xu, J., Tseng, Y., Inglett, G.E., Wirtz, D. 2013. Multiple-particle tracking study of the microheterogeneity of beta-glucan-rich hydrocolloidal extractive suspensions. Meeting Abstract. xx.
Rheological properties of a biological thermo-responsive hydrogel produced from soybean oil polymers - (Abstract Only)
Xu, J., Liu, Z., Kim, S., Liu, S.X. 2012. Rheological properties of a biological thermo-responsive hydrogel produced from soybean oil polymers [abstract]. American Chemical Society National Meeting.
Celebrate diversity, the one true thing we all have in common - (Government Publication)
Biswas, A. 2012. Celebrate diversity, the one true thing we all have in common. Government Publication/Report.
Food Safety Categories:Food and Feed Handling and Processing
Government Policy and Regulations
Farm-to-Table Categories:Food processing
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