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Bioplastics from Waste

Bioplastics from Waste Streams Bioplastics from agro waste Bioplastics are still rather expensive and are sometimes (rightly or wrongly) blamed for potential competition with food production. SPC Biotech Pvt. Ltd at Hyderabad, India, has developed a new process for manufacturing PLA, cost effectively, from agro waste such as mango kernel, tamarind seeds, and other locally available agro waste. In general bioplastics based on PLA attempt to reduce the negative environmental impact of petroleum-based conventional plastics and global plastic pollution. Landfills and oceans around the world for instance are being polluted with conventional plastics; PLA bioplastics are designed to biodegrade into CO 2 , water and biomass within weeks of being disposed of. Most PLA based bioplastics, however, are developed from the edible parts of plants as opposed to inedible agricultural waste. In addition turning sugar into plastics has been a rather expensive and inefficient process. SPC Biotech is now able to reduce the potential impact of PLA production on the global food supply by using inedible agricultural waste as the raw material. SPC has developed a novel process in which hydrolysed mango starch (from the mango kernel, i.e. from agricultural waste) is converted into high-quality PLA. SPC’s R&D team has successfully evolved a technique to actually train and select bacteria which can convert glucose into lactic acid with a 73% to 78% process efficiency. Although the bacteria have been successfully breaking down sugars obtained by the hydrolysis of mango starch, they have not been able to process two components that resulted from the process of breakdown, namely maltose and glucose. This failure led to the fact that a substantial amount of fermentable sugars from the hydrolysed materials was left unused. However, co-culturing of two bacteria which can effectively use maltose and glucose to reduce the residual sugars produced the best result with more than 86% process efficiency. As a part of the ongoing research initiative to improve existing technology, the R&D team at SPC is actively engaged in an adaptive evolutionary process to train the bacteria, by growing and selecting only the most efficient strains for better utilization of sugars from hydrolysed agro-waste. The results have been successful. After several The overall process for development of PLA from mango kernels Pulverization Acid Hyrolysis Mango Kernel seeds Kernel powder Dextrose Solution Purification Fermentation Lactic Acid 88% Polymerization Sodium Lactate Culture strain Ring Opening Polymerization L-Lactide POLY LACTICACID (GRANULES) 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/12] Vol. 7

By M.S.Shankara Prasad Managing Director Dr. Sateesh Kumar Vice President (Technical) both: SPC Biotech, India months of adaptive process relatively few bacteria could quickly digest all of the fermentable sugars present in the medium. And surprisingly enough, these trained bacteria could also digest moderately tolerable level of contaminated hydrolysate. 3. Kooperationsforum mit Fachausstellung Biopolymere Funktionen – Technologien – Anwendungen SPC Biotech reduces bioplastic production’s potential competition to food and animal feedstuffs by using inedible agricultural waste such as mango kernel, rice waste etc. as the raw material, rather than the edible parts of plants. SPC Biotech has developed a cost effective and sustainable process to produce bioplastics at a competitive price compared to conventional plastics and other PLA bioplastic producers. These bioplastics will be at least 40% cheaper than the closest competitor, and due to the design of SPC’s unique machinery, there will be a 30% reduction in the total capital cost of the project. Presently, the company is working on a commercial project that will produce 1,000 tonnes of PLA bioplastic per year and expects commercial activity to commence by the end of 2012. After validating the performance at 1,000 tonnes per year, SPC will begin a 10,000 tonne per year project and will need to raise about Million USD. Herzogschloss Straubing 20. November 2012 Fig 1: Growth rate of bacteria before and after adaptive evelutionary procecess measured by determining the Optical Density (OD) Besichtigung von Firmen und Instituten 19. November 2012 6 Growth curve 5 O.D. at 660 nm 4 3 2 1 0 0 50 100 TIME (hrs) Bildnachweis: istock, Evonik Industries AG, H.Hiendl GmbH & Co. KG Informationen und Anmeldung: Wild strain Adopted strain bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/12] Vol. 7 17

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