Biochemistry Project Topics

Production of Biodegrable Plastic Films From Cassava Starch Used in Food Packaging, Using Various Additives and Plasticizers

Production of Biodegrable Plastic Films From Cassava Starch Used in Food Packaging, Using Various Additives and Plasticizers


Production of Biodegrable Plastic Films From Cassava Starch Used in Food Packaging, Using Various Additive

Content Structure of Production of Biodegrable Plastic Films From Cassava Starch Used in Food Packaging, Using Various Additives and Plasticizers

The abstract contains the research problem, the objectives, methodology, results, and recommendations

  • Chapter one of this thesis or project materials contains the background to the study, the research problem, the research questions, research objectives, research hypotheses, significance of the study, the scope of the study, organization of the study, and the operational definition of terms.
  • Chapter two contains relevant literature on the issue under investigation. The chapter is divided into five parts which are the conceptual review, theoretical review, empirical review, conceptual framework, and gaps in research
  • Chapter three contains the research design, study area, population, sample size and sampling technique, validity, reliability, source of data, operationalization of variables, research models, and data analysis method
  • Chapter four contains the data analysis and the discussion of the findings
  • Chapter five contains the summary of findings, conclusions, recommendations, contributions to knowledge, and recommendations for further studies.
  • References: The references are in APA
  • Questionnaire.


Introduction Of Production of Biodegrable Plastic Films From Cassava Starch Used in Food Packaging, Using Various Additives and Plasticizers

Background study

     Packagingvusing plasticvmaterialsvhas rapidly increasedvin recent times. Its vusevcovers a wide area of applicationvfromvautomobile parts, food, drinks, water, snacks, cloths, fresh and sea foods, vfarm products, vmedicals and pharmaceuticals, to mention but a few. The use of such bombastic amount of schematicvplastics and its advantage over other packaging materialsis due tovits diverse and and ancev properties vofvlongevity.Thevproperties include resistance tovchemicalvreaction, vthermal strength, mechanical and its tensile strength, vespeciallyvenzymaticvreactions (Ezeoha and Ezenwanne, 2013.).


     For example it willvtake avveryvlongvtimevsay avhundredvyears to degradevjustva piece of plastic film (polyethene) used to package snacks (gala) at standard environmental conditions. vBasically, two challenges have been cited with the of conventional polyethene usevits  dependence  on vpetroleum  and  the  problem vof  waste  disposal.  Most  of  today’s  conventionalvsynthetic  polymers vare  producedvfromvpetrochemicals  that vare  not  biodegradable.  Thesevstable vpolymers  are  a  significant vsourcevof venvironmental  pollution, vharming vorganic  naturevwhen vthey  are  dispersedvin  thevenvironment, changes thevcarbon dioxide cycle, problemvassociatedvwith increasedvtoxic emission. The sources of synthetic polymersvsuch as fossilvfuel and gas arevnow stimulated by environmental concerns. Scientists arevresearchingvdifferentvmethods ofvimprovingvplastics thatvcanvbevusedvmorevefficientlyvsuchvthat they could be recycled, vreused and to possiblyvdegradevafter use.

      Alternationvisvtowardsvgreenervagriculturalvsources,   vwhich valsovwouldvlead   vto    the    reduction of CO2 emissions (Narayan, 2001). According to the Biodegradable    ProductsvInstitutev (BPI), avbiodegradable plastics isvone in which degradation    results from    the vactionvofvnaturallyvoccurring   vmicro-organismsvsuch as bacteria, vfungi or algae. Degradablevplastics are classified byvAmericanvSociety forvTesting and Materials    (ASTM) into four these are:-

(1) Photodegradablevplastics: Degradation of the plastic results from natural daylight.            

 (2) Oxidativevdegradable plastics: A degradation of plastics as a result of oxidation.

(3) hydrolytically degradable plastics: – The degradability resultsvfromvhydrolysis, vand

 (4) BiodegradablevPlastics: – Degradablevplastics invwhich there isvbreakdown of long chain polymervmoleculevinto smaller or shorter lengths. It undergoes oxidationvwhich is triggered by heat, ultraviolent light (UVlight), and mechanical stress. Itvoccurs in thevpresencevof moisture and actions from naturallyvoccurringvmicroorganismsvsuch asvbacterial, fungi and algae. (ASTM Standards, 1998)

Thevvariousvdegradablevplastics definitions classified above offers the onlyvproducts whichvarevnaturallyvdegradable. Starch isvbeenvdiscoveredvamongst all biopolymers as a high potentialvmaterial for biodegrablevfilms. Starchvconsists of two types of polysaccharides, amylose and amylopectinvdepending on the sucrose (10-20%) amylase and (80-90%) amylopectin. The hydrophlicity ofvstarch canvbe used tovincrease the biodegrability of starch-basedvplastics. Amylosevis avlinearvmolecule with a fewvbranches, whereasvamylopectinvis avhighlyvbranchedvmolecule. Therefore, vamylosevcontentvis an importantvfactor to biodegrable plastic filmvstrength. Branchedvstructure of amylopectin generallyvleads to filmvwith lowvmechanical properties. To improve thevflexibilityvof plastics, plasticizers arevadded tovreduce internalvhydrogen bondvbetweenvpolymer chainsvwhile increasing molecular space. The mostvcommonly used starchvplasticizers are polyols, sorbitol and glycerol. Thevkey emphasisvin biodegrability is thatvbiopolymer materialsvbreakdownvintovsmaller compounds, either chemically or byvorganisms sooner than synthetic plastics (Bastioli, 2005.). Biodegradablevpackagingvmaterials are materials that degrades back tovthe earth surfacevharmlessly when disposed. This help largely in reducingvthe amount of packaging materialsvthat goes back into landfills andvfurthermore, saves energy, as the biodegrable route requires little or novexternal source of energy its endothermic.

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 Biodegrable polymervsources are fromvreplaceable agriculturalvfeed socks, vanimal sources, vmarinevfoodvprocessingvindustriesvwaste, or microbial sources. In addition to replenshiable raw agricultural ingredients, biodegrable materials breakdownvinto environmental friendlyvproducts such; as carbon dioxide, vwater and quality compost. 

Biodegradationvtakesvplace in two-steps: vdegradation/defragmentationvinitiated by heat, moisture, or microbial enzymes, andvsecond step – biodegradation – where the shorter carbonvchains passvthrough the cellvwalls of the microbesvand are used as anvenergy source. Biodegrable plastics are made from cellulose-based starchvand has been in existence for decades, with first exhibitionvof a cellulose-basedvstarch (which initiated thevbiodegradable plasticvindustry in 1862). Cellophanevisvthevmost cellulose-basedvbiopolymer. vStarch-based biopolymer, which swellvandvdeformvwhen exposedvtovmoisture, include amylose, hydroxyalkanote (PHA), polyhydroxybuterate (PHB), and avcopolymer of PhB and valeric acid (PhB/V). These are made from lactic acid formed fromvmicrobial fermentation of starch derivatives, polylactide does not degrade when exposed tovmoisture ( al, 2007) PHA, PHB, andvPHB/V are formedvby bacterial actionsvonvstarch (Krochta, 1997). In addition, biodegrable films can also bevproduce from chitosan, vwhich isvderivedvfromvchitin of crustacean and insectvexoskeletons. Chitin is a biopolymervsimilar tovcellulose structure. Therevare variousvwaysvstarchvcan be used for biodegrable polymervproduction; 

  1. Starchvcompostvcontainingvmore than half byvmass of thevplasticizers.
  2.  Biodegrable polymers preparationvusing thevextrusion process of mixtures of granularvstarch.
  3.  Compositionvof starchvwith othervplastics of little quantityvof agricultural based material to enhance the biodegrability of conventional synthetic polymer.

 Synthetic polymers can alsovbe madevpartially degradablevbyvblending with biopolymers, vincorporating biodegrable components such as starch, or by adding bioactive compounds. vThe bio compoundsvare degradedvto break thevpolymervinto smaller chains. Bioactivevcompounds work through diverse mechanisms. For example, theyvmay be mixed with swelling agents tovincrease thevmolecular structure ofvthe plastic whichvupon exposure tovmoisture vallow the bioactivevcompounds to breakdownvthe plastics.

Problem statement

Therevisvbasically, vtwo harmsvconnected to the wide applicationvof synthetic polymer plastics for packaging sincevits inventionvin the 1930s: They arevtotalvreliance on petrochemicalvproduct as itsvmain feedvstockvand the problemvof wastevdisposal. Most of today’s conventional synthetic polymers arevproduced from petrochemicalsvandvare not biodegradable. Thesevstable polymers are avsignificant source ofvenvironmentalvpollution, harmfulvtovorganicvnaturevwhen they are dispersed in the environment. The rawvmaterials such as fossil fuelvand gasvcould be replaced by greenervagriculturalvsources, which contributevto the reductionvof Co2vemissions (Narayan, 2001). Basedvon the abovevit becomes ofvvalue to producevplastics that are biodegradable,vin excess of the past few years syntheticvpolymer usersvhave been introducingvvarious forms ofvbiodegradablevplastics. Thevalternative rawvmaterialsvare nowvfrom plants products, the main amongvmanyvothers is cornvstarch.


Biovplasticsvwere too expensive for considerationvof replacementvfor petroleumvbased plastics. The lowervtemperature needed for the production of bio plastics and the more sTable supply of biomass combined withvthevincreasing cost of crude oil make bio plastics prices morevcompetitivevwithvregular plastics. Starch isvinexpensivevand abundancevin nature, Nigeriavbeing the world largestvproducer of cassava (FAO, 2009) and being a root crop that canvbe grown in every part of the nation, Starchvis totally biodegradable in a wide range of environmentsvand can be usedvin the developmentvof biodegrable packaging products for variousvmarket uses. Incineration of starch product is a way of recycling, the atmosphericvCOtrapped by starch-producingvplant duringvgrowth, thusvclosing the biological carbonvcycle (Ceredavet al).

Aim andobjectives

     The aimvof thisvresearch is to produce biodegrable plastic films from cassava starch used in food packaging, using various additives and plasticizers. This will be achieved via the following objectives.

  1. Extraction of starch from fresh cassava.
  2. Improving the extracted starch with addition of plasticizers and various additives,
  3.  Determining the biodegrability and tensile strength of the produced biodegradable products and comparing with that of synthetic polyethene.
  4.  Testing for the validity of the produced biodegradable film.

Scope of study

The scope of theses work is strictly limited to:

                               I.            Extraction of starch from cassava.

                            II.            Physical and chemical properties of plasticizers and additives in resumption.

                            III.             Cost estimation.

                         IV.            Biodegrability test, and the characterization of the produced film.

Download Chapters 1 to 5 PDF




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