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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Acylation of agricultural protein biomass yields biodegradable superabsorbent plastics

Capezza, Antonio J.; Muneer, Faraz; Prade, Thomas; Newson, William R.; Das, Oisik; Lundman, Malin; Olsson, Richard T.; Hedenqvist, Mikael S.; Johansson, Eva

Abstract

Superabsorbent materials can absorb many times their weight in water, but are commonly derived from petroleum. Here, acylation of coagulated potato protein concentrate or soluble potato protein fruit juice yields an effective, mould-resistant, and biodegradable superabsorbent polymer.Superabsorbent polymers (SAP) are a central component of hygiene and medical products requiring high liquid swelling, but these SAP are commonly derived from petroleum resources. Here, we show that sustainable and biodegradable SAP can be produced by acylation of the agricultural potato protein side-stream (PPC) with a non-toxic dianhydride (EDTAD). Treatment of the PPC yields a material with a water swelling capacity of ca. 2400%, which is ten times greater than the untreated PPC. Acylation was also performed on waste potato fruit juice (PFJ), i.e. before the industrial treatment to precipitate the PPC. The use of PFJ for the acylation implies a saving of 320 000 tons as CO2 in greenhouse gas emissions per year by avoiding the industrial drying of the PFJ to obtain the PPC. The acylated PPC shows biodegradation and resistance to mould growth. The possibilities to produce a biodegradable SAP from the PPC allows for future fabrication of environment-friendly and disposable daily-care products, e.g. diapers and sanitary pads.

Published in

Communications Chemistry
2021, volume: 4, number: 1, article number: 52
Publisher: NATURE RESEARCH

Authors' information

Capezza, Antonio José
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Capezza, Antonio José
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding
Das, Oisik
Lulea University of Technology
Olsson, Richard T.
Royal Institute of Technology
Hedenqvist, Mikael S.
Royal Institute of Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Breeding

UKÄ Subject classification

Bio Materials

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42004-021-00491-5

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/111742