Researchers at McGill University and Montreal lab they have modified a substance found in crustacean shells called chitin into a polymer called chitosan.
The breakthrough involves making chitosan with a longer chain. The longer the molecular chain, the more robust the material.
The researchers have primarily been working with shrimp shells, which they grind into a fine powder. Their hope is that this new material will one day replace petroleum-based plastics.
Audrey Moores, associate professor of chemistry at McGill University said
“Globally, every year we generate six to eight million tonnes of these kinds of crustaceous waste and we’re not using it for anything, really. The discovery has many potential applications, such as straws, disposable cutlery, single-use plastic bags, food packaging and even for 3D printing. But we’re also looking into higher end applications like biomedical applications.”
The team patented the process and are now working to make the substance more malleable before attempting to get it to market.
- Canadians are bringing a breeze of fresh air and innocence to the bioplastics industry. They’re like the millennials or teenagers of the bioplastics industry. They’ve recently emerged from a bioplastics winter sleep and are reinventing what other have invented before them.
- Jokes aside, if Canada keeps following this path, they may actually become a bioplastics pioneer at some point.
- Canada hasn’t manage to alter the century old business model of “exporting their resources” to other countries that create value from imported Canadian resources. It’s time Canadians start to innovate !!
- The oldest Chitosan-related article we could found was from Harvard Wyss Institute dating back from 2014 (see hereunder).
- Chitosan bioplastic can be used to fabricate objects
- Australian Teenager Develops Bioplastics from Shrimps
- New Bioplastics Packaging made from Shellfish and Cellulose