Biodegradable plastic made from bananasBy Valeria Bigurra Peñavera
Scientists at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) of Mexico have created biodegradable plastic by using banana.
This flour made from banana, can be used to create plastic products with high biodegradable capacity, and was made considering the factor of not creating competition with food needs.
After a careful study, the experts concluded that the banana was the best option to create this plastic, because it has high amounts of starch and its growth cycle and production is fast.
The banana crop that was used to create this product, was the one that is not intended for food, and usually rots because this ripe fruit quickly.
Professor Eduardo San Martin Martinez, head of the project, explained in an article by Milenio, that for a plastic to be called biodegradable it has to be crated mostly of a natural polymer made of carbohydrates, which come from starches, and these are consumed by organisms found on earth.
To make the flour is necessary to use green bananas with shell, as these contain more starch, which when ripe, turns into sugar.
The bioplastic, made from banana starch shares characteristics with those made by petroleum. However the biggest difference between the plastic currently manufactured and the one produced based on starch, is that the latter is completely biodegradable and non-toxic, once degraded can even be used as fertilizer, advantage obtained thanks to its vegetable origin.
Moreover, three Mexican high school students will travel to London to present at an international forum for science their project "Biodegradable Plastic with banana peels", with which they also seek to solve the problems arising from excessive use of conventional plastics.
The Santiago High School students of the Popular Autonomous University of Puebla (UPAEP) seek, like the IPN specialists, to provide a solution to the problems of pollution generated by traditional plastics.
This group of students in addition to using the banana peel, use cornstarch, vinegar and glycerin, mixture that later is exposed to the sun for 24 hours, after which the plastic material is obtained.
So far they have only succeeded in creating a resealable bag, an achievement considered important because it is one of the most used products nowadays.
The event where they will present their project brings together young people from over 65 countries to promote their research projects.
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