(147c) Biodegradable Chitosan Composite Films from Banana and Potato Food Waste | AIChE

(147c) Biodegradable Chitosan Composite Films from Banana and Potato Food Waste


Urgun-Demirtas, M., Argonne National Laboratory
Riggio, S., Argonne National Laboratory
Dalke, R., Argonne National Laboratory
Preradovic, K., Argonne National Laboratory
The accumulation of plastic waste in the environment continues to be a growing concern worldwide. Additionally, a demand for more natural, bio-based products has opened a new market for biodegradable/compostable films for packaging across applications such as food and beverage, healthcare, personal care, and consumer goods. Developing suitable packaging materials from bioderived and biodegradable materials will reduce dependency on fossil fuels, lower harmful emissions from fossil fuel production, and contribute towards the development of a more sustainable and cost effective circular economy.

This study aims to improve existing formulations and food waste extraction methods to synthesize and produce alternatives to fossil fuel-based food packaging. Chitosan is a polysaccharide obtained from crab and shrimp shells extractions, which is also a known film-forming material. We synthesized biodegradable blend films using banana and potato food waste extractions and chitosan as starting materials, tested the mechanical, thermal, and water vapor permeation properties of the films. We also carried out the biodegradation testing in freshwater, soil, and compost environments to determine the fate of new biofilms in the receiving environments. These blend films reached 50-55% biodegradation in freshwater (day 91), 100% biodegradation in soil (day 45), and 50% biodegradation in compost (day 45). Therefore, the films demonstrate both high biodegradability in multiple environments as well as the physicochemical properties needed for potential use in single-use packaging applications.