Philippine scientists develop biodegradable film via nanotechnology

A team of scientists at the Philippine’s Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) has developed a biodegradable film for food packaging application.

The film is made from locally available starch and clay and processed via nanotechnology, which is one of DOST’s priority technologies. The agency has collaborated with the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, which provided the fund and also monitored the project.

According to the DOST, the tightly layered clay is processed first to enable it to blend well with starch. Through a process called ion exchange, clay is treated with ions, resulting in wider spaces between the layers of the clay.

The treated clay, called organoclay or nanoclay is blended with thermoplastic starch made from cornstarch.

To make the film, the clay-plastic blend will be processed the same way (and using the same equipment) as when producing traditional petroleum-based plastics.

The film passed the required migration test for packaging films, assuring that it is safe and will not contaminate the food it is in contact with.


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