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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Development of bioplastics based on agricultural side-stream products: Film extrusion of Crambe abyssinica/wheat gluten blends for packaging purposes

Rasel, Hannah; Johansson, Therese; Gällstedt, Mikael; Newson, William; Johansson, Eva; Hedenqvist, Mikael S.


The purpose of this work was to add economic value to crambe meal, the protein-rich byproduct from the industrial extraction of Crambe abyssinica seed oil, by using it as a potential feedstock for oilseed meal-based plastics. The feasibility to produce continuous, flexible plastic films of glycerol-plasticized crambe meal blended with wheat gluten (WG) to improve extrudate properties and urea as a protein denaturant using extrusion was investigated. The effect of process parameters and blend composition were studied with regard to the extrusion performance and the film properties. Tensile properties and oxygen permeability were determined, and the film morphology was analyzed with scanning electron microscopy. A die temperature between 125 and 130 degrees C resulted in films with the most homogeneous surfaces and highest tensile strength and extensibility. The use of compression molding after extrusion improved the surface quality and film strength and lowered the oxygen permeability. A decrease in the plasticizer content (from 30 to 20 wt %) improved the extrudability and showed the highest tensile strength, whereas the extensibility was essentially unaffected. The importance of the presence of WG was shown by the fact that strength and extensibility decreased when the crambe content was increased from 60 to 80 wt %. It was shown that crambe-based biopolymer blends could be extruded as continuous flexible plastic films that exhibited promising mechanical and oxygen barrier properties. The operational window was, however, found to be narrow. The results provide a first basis to further develop the process and the blend toward industrial applications, for example, as packaging materials. (C) 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


biopolymers and renewable polymers; blends; extrusion; molding; packaging

Published in

Journal of Applied Polymer Science
2016, Volume: 133, number: 2, article number: 42442