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  • Biopolymers are a class of polymers produced by living organisms. Starch, proteins and peptides, DNA, and RNA are all examples of biopolymers, in which the monomer units, respectively, are sugars, amino acids, and nucleic acids.
  • Polyphenols are a group of chemical substances found in plants, characterized by the presence of more than one phenol unit or building block per molecule. Polyphenols are generally divided into hydrolyzable tannins  and phenylpropanoids, such as lignins, flavonoids, and condensed tannins.
  • The Biodegradable plastic technology, developed by Sergei Braun, makes it possible to produce biodegradable plastic for the food-packaging industry from the residue left after processing protein-rich crops such as corn, canola, rapeseed and soy beans.
  • The cost advantage depends on the use of a chemical substitution that replaces some of the primary amines in the protein-based material to produce a biodegradable material similar in qualities to polypropylene
  • The food oils and starches industry produces a surplus of vegetable proteins that can be used for the manufacturing of environmentally friendly food packaging. Just 6 per cent of surplus vegetable protein production in the US would needed to produce plastic packaging for the entire country.
  • Biopolymers are derived from natural resources and hence, hold traits such as biocompatibility and biodegradability, which gives them an edge over conventional synthetic polymers for use in a wide range of applications. Advances in the field of biotechnology and related sciences such as genetic engineering and recombinant DNA technology have changed the ways of synthesis of biopolymers.
  • Today, the biopolymer production and fermentation process has taken a huge leap of advancement that offers developers tremendous flexibility to design biopolymers befitting a specific application. The number of end-user applications of biopolymers is constantly on the rise and it is reasonable to believe that biopolymers, coupled with their unique traits and advances in production technology, would serve to bridge the huge unmet needs of this aging society.
  • The research has found that most consumers are confused about the wide range of new materials emerging with ‘biodegradable’, ‘home compostable’, ‘compostable’  and ‘degradable’ all being introduced in the UK as bags, pots, trays, films or bottle formats, albeit in relatively small quantities at present.
  • According to the research, consumers initially rate biodegradable and compostable plastics very favourably as they believe they just ‘break down’ after disposal. However when made aware of some of the possible impacts some of the biopolymers can have on plastics recycling, commercial composting or if sent to landfill sites, the respondents were less clear of the overall benefits, and were left feeling confused. Apart from some home compostable materials, there is currently no appropriate infrastructure for the materials to be collected and treated in the UK.

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