In future, crop plants will be able to produce the tailor-made polymers, which can be converted into a variety of plastic materials to be utilized as food packaging and other disposable plastic products. Among natural polymers, starch has been pointed out as the most promising candidate for future plastic materials, primarily because of an attractive price in combination with good properties. The limited performance of commercially available starch-based plastics (moisture sensitivity, brittle fracture etc) will in future be improved by using tailor-made amyloses produced by genetically modified plants e.g. potatoes. This new technology offers unlimited variation of molecular weight, molecular weight distribution, degree of branching as well as possible derivatization of amyloses which can be performed in potatoes.
In order to utilize the opportunity that genetic engineering offers, it is necessary to develop the knowledge of the effect of molecular structure of amyloses on the material properties of plastic materials produced by thermoplastic processing and solution casting. In this interdisciplinary program, such knowledge is gained. The amyloses are chemically modified and the possibility to enzymatically modify selected amyloses to the same extent in future, biologically produced equivalents will be investigated. The molecular structure is characterized and its effects on material properties and thermoplastic processability is studied. Films are produced with enhanced barrier properties. Plastic materials prepared from model-amyloses are evaluated as barrier coatings, food packaging materials and other disposable plastic products together with industrial collaborators within the program.
VINNOVA, the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems are financing the the Amyloplast programme.
Food Science, SLU, Uppsala
Material Science and Engineering, Chalmers
Polymer Technology, Chalmers
Structure and Material Design, SIK
Rindlav-Westling, Å., Stading, M., Hermansson, A-M. and Gatenholm, P. (1998) "Structure, barrier and mechanical properties of amylose and amylopectin films", Carbohydrate Polymers, 36, 217-224
Stading, M., Rindlav Westling, Å. and Gatenholm, P. (2001) "Humidity-induced structural transitions in amylose and amylopectin films", Carbohydrate Polymers, 45, 3, 209-217.
Rindlav-Westling, Å. (2002) "Crystallinity and morphology of Starch polymers in Films", Thesis at Chalmers University of Technology