Corn and soy-based protein plastics are being developed as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics. They are biorenewable, biodegradable, and naturally release fertilizers during degradation.
These plastics can be molded into any shape and used with existing equipment. Mechanical properties are similar to petroleum-based plastics. Possible applications include home and garden supplies, toys, building materials, and industrial packaging.
More information about this research area can be found on David Grewell's team page.
Project Highlight: Biobased Plant Containers
The Biopolymers & Biocomposites Research Team is developing biorenewable and biodegradable plant containers for the specialty crop industry. The new biobased plant containers provide a sustainable replacement for petroleum-based pots and degrade harmlessly when planted in a garden.
Biobased plant containers are produced from natural proteins, carbohydrates, and oils, and some are constructed with low-cost natural fibers.
Early results with plant containers made from soy and corn proteins show these containers made from these polymers degrade slowly during plant culture, providing fertilizer for growing plants.