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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Processing and properties of gluten/zein composite

Author
item Kim, Sanghoon

Submitted to: Bioresource Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 27, 2007
Publication Date: April 30, 2008
Citation: Kim, S. 2008. Processing and properties of gluten/zein composite. Bioresource Technology. 99(4):2032-2036.

Interpretive Summary: Conventionally, polymer composites have been manufactured by mixing the component materials at high temperature. When agricultural products, that are usually mixtures of many types of materials, are used as a raw material, however, this conventional technique poses difficulties in processing. This report introduces a new technology to produce biodegradable polymer composites that will potentially replace existing petroleum based polymers. With this newly developed process, polymer composites are produced at room temperature. During the process, powder-type raw materials are coated with corn protein that has a strong adhesive property, which is then compressed to form a rigid material. Since this technique does not require purification of raw materials, various types of materials can be used as component materials. In this report, wheat protein was used as an example. The compressive strength of the composite formed from wheat protein is comparable to that of a synthetic polymer, polypropylene. This research offers a new process for the production of degradable biopolymer composites. Scientists/manufacturers in industry and academia developing new polymer materials would benefit.

Technical Abstract: Polymer composites have been processed by mixing the component materials at high temperature, in the extruder or compression mold. When agricultural biopolymers, that are usually mixtures of many types of compounds, are used as raw materials, however, high-temperature processes cause unwanted consequences such as decomposition, gas generation, phase separation, etc. This report introduces a new technology to produce biodegradable polymer composites that will potentially replace existing petroleum based polymers. With this newly developed process, polymer composites are produced at room temperature. During the process, micrometer-scale raw materials are coated with zein that has a strong adhesive property, which is then compressed to form a rigid material. Since this technique does not require purification of the raw materials, various types of compounds can be used as component materials. In this report, wheat protein, gluten, was used as a matrix material. The compressive yield strength of the product formed from gluten is ca.43 MPa which is comparable to that of polypropylene.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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