The team used a microbial fermentation system to produce PHBV combined with organic peroxide and trimethylolpropane triacrylate. The resulting bioplastic was 75% tougher and 100% more flexible than PHBV alone.
“Previous attempts at this combination were unsuccessful because the softness meant a loss of strength,” and the materials were too brittle for use as food packaging, says lead author Xiaoying Zhao.
The team’s bioplastic has the processing, shipping and handling characteristics needed for food packaging, says OSU food and science technology professor Yael Vodovotz, a food science and technology professor.
The researchers plan on adding additional biodegradable materials to achieve diverse attributes.