Researchers make bioplastics from meat and bone meal

01-04-2011 | |
Researchers make bioplastics from meat and bone meal

A research team has developed a new process that utilizes meat and bone meal (MBM) as raw materials to produce partly biodegradable plastic.

The research was presented at the American Chemical Society’s 241st National Meeting and Exposition by Fehime Vatansever and her associates of the Clemson University, South Carolina.
The US Food and Drug Administration implemented a ban on using MBM as cattle feed in 1997 to reduce the spread of the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). This ban made MBM as a waste material to be disposed in landfills.
Instead of disposing MBM as waste material, the research team decided to use it to produce bioplastics that are free from petroleum.
Polyethylene plastics
The researchers blended the bioplastics produced from MBM with ultra-high-molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), a tough polymer utilized in PVC windows, joint replacements, snowboards and skis.
From the test results, the researchers proved that their MBM/UHMWPE plastic has the same toughness and durability of UHMWPE with an added advantage of being partly biodegradable.
Vatansever said that any traces of BSE infectious elements present in MBM are deactivated in the production of the bioplastics.
The new process reduces the quantity of petroleum required to produce plastics and allows reuse of MBM. She added that her team has produced a powerful, green material that can be manufactured easily.

Dick Ziggers Former editor All About Feed