In Brazil, researchers from Ibilce’s Grupo da Unesp de Rio Preto are using cassava starch as a raw material for the production of biodegradable plastic materials. The main benefits are cassava’s low cost, abundance, and renewability.
While the study on cassava as a bioplastic material has been done by other researchers for some time, the latest research is working on improvements to the functional performance of the material. So far, the cassava-based bioplastics have presented good properties of appearance and permeability to gases, but they need a reinforcement to increase its resistance. Thus, studies are being done to incorporate other compounds into the starch matrix, such as the use of nanoparticles of minerals and plant fibers. Another raw material that is being used is zein, the corn protein obtained after grinding the grain for the production of corn starch. Another study used, in addition to olive oils, buriti and macadamia, the incorporation of tiny particles of silicate (inorganic material), which improved the mechanical resistance.