Cassava Starch as an Effective Component for Ideal Biodegradable Plastic

Topics: Cassava, Starch, Biodegradable plastic Pages: 8 (2518 words) Published: April 26, 2012
Title: Cassava starch as an effective component for Ideal Biodegradable Plastic
Proponent:Zhaira Morysette L. Maco, III-Narra student
Inventions have evolved and continue to evolve such that after several years of study, research and experimentation reach great developments. With continuing efforts to investigate the constituents of Philippine plants, we have pursued investigation of starch of the cassava plant (Manihot esculenta). Cassava tubers were gathered, ground and squeezed to extract starch.

Cassava (Manihot esculenta), also called manioc, tapioca or yuca, is one of the most important food crops in the humid tropics, being particularly suited to conditions of low nutrient availability and able to survive drought (Burrell, 2003). The plant grows to a height of 1 to 3 m and several roots may be found on each plant. Although cassava leaves are sometimes consumed, the major harvested organ is the tuber, which is actually a swollen root. The plant is propagated mostly from stem cuttings. A major limitation of cassava production is the rapid post harvest deterioration of its roots which usually prevents their storage in the fresh state for more than a few days (Okezie and Kosikowski, 1982). Cassava ranks very high among crops that convert the greatest amount of solar energy into soluble carbohydrates per unit of area. Among the starchy staples, cassava gives a carbohydrate production which is about 40% higher than rice and 25% more than maize, with the result that cassava is the cheapest source of calories for both human nutrition and animal feeding. A typical composition of the cassava root is moisture (70%), starch (24%), fiber (2%), protein (1%) and other substances including minerals (3%) Compared to other crops, cassava excels under suboptimal conditions, offering the possibility of using marginal land to increase total agricultural production (Cock, 1982). Plant breeders, agronomists and recently molecular biologists have made substantial improvements in cassava yields during the last two decades. While, genetic characterization and mapping has revealed some insights into the molecular nature of cassava (Tonukari et al. 1997; Fregene et al. 2003) Plastics are synthetic substances produced by chemical reactions. Almost all plastics are made from petroleum, except a few experimental resins derived from corn and other organic substances. Plastic has many properties which has made it a raw material of choice for Manufactures of plastic Bags and packing materials. Cost of production, lightweight, strength, easy process of manufacture, and availability are few of the properties. Man has simply not put the plastic to the right use/ or using it without taking proper care of other related norms of usage. The hazards plastics pose are numerous. The land gets littered by plastic bag garbage presenting an ugly and unhygienic seen. The "Throw away culture" results in these bags finding their way in to the city drainage system, the resulting blockage cases inconvenience, difficult in maintaining the drainage with increased cost, creates unhygienic environment resulting in health hazard and spreading of water borne diseases. This littering also reduces rate of rain water percolating, resulting in lowering of already low water levels in our cities. The soil fertility deteriorates as the plastic bags form parts of manure remain in the soil for years. People need alternative and effective components of plastic that is safe and biodegradable which will not harm and pollute the earth. Significance:

This study is important to be able to help Mother Earth in reducing its pollutants and toxic or harmful wastes. Through this study, the researchers will be able to help other people, the animals and the environment. The researchers would like to stop plastic pollution and be part of the solution. Plastic bags and bottles, like all forms of plastic, create significant environmental and economic burdens. They...
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