Carson Meredith used cellulose fibers found in trees and woody plants that is used to make paper and the hard material found in the clamshells and the exoskeleton of lobsters called chitin
Chitin and cellulose are oppositely charged at molecular level so they are attracted to each other.
Meredith and his colleagues used a clear flexible PLA base and applied alternating layers of chitin and cellulose nano-fibers. The result was a thin and durable plastic
The new material is good at keeping oxygen out, which is a prerequisite for food packaging but Meredith hasn’t formally tested it as a food packing material yet.
Theoretically, the new material would be compostable and biodegradable.
- Such invention cannot be commercialised yet as there’s no industrial supply chain for chitin. We should be careful that shellfish are not breeded for their chitin as this may raise of few concerns in terms of animal rights.
- The first to come up with the idea of using chitin was a fifteen-year-old Angelina Arora from Sydney Girls High School who developed a biodegradable plastic made from prawn shell and sticky protein from the silk of silkworms.
- At Bioplasticsnews.com, we like to keep your mind sharp, so one may ask the following question: to what extend did a 15 year old girl’s invention influence Georgia University research? Especially the use of a PLA base may raise concern. Anyway, we’ll give the benefit of the doubt.
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