Jaap Kodde from Flevostar, Holland:
Publication date: 9/10/2009
Author: Nichola Watson
The company Flevostar from Dronten, Holland announced that the shelf life of potatoes can be extended by at least 50% by using bioplastic packaging. Spokesman Jaap Kodde says that according to their research it takes considerably longer before potatoes turn green when using the recycled bioplastic because the packaging filters specific wavelengths of light.
"We have as a company started with the application of bioplastics because we want to stand out for our quality and are very keen to conserve the environment. After we solved the initial problems, it was surprising to find that the potatoes had a much longer shelf life with no adverse effect on the quality," said Jaap Kodde, director and owner of Flevostar. "We also found that by using bioplastic no condensation formed inside the packaging because the packaging 'breathes'. Droplets of water which come into contact with a fresh product such as potatoes lead to faster rotting and reduction in quality."
The recycled bioplastics are based on corn which lessens the reliance on oil and above all reduces the creation of greenhouse gas CO². The package can converted into biogas, compost or burnt.
Research aims to boost bioplastics from potatoes
Related topics: Green packaging, Packaging & Design, Packaging
Corn starch-based Bioplastics have proved increasingly popular for eco-friendly personal care packaging, but now researchers are investigating ways to enhance potato starch for this purpose.
Corn starch has long been the preferred base for this kind of plastic because the crop can be harvested in large quantities on a global basis. Likewise, the technologies for milling it and processing it in to corn starch are highly developed and readily available.
However, a new research initiative by the Canadian government aims to develop improved means of processing potato starch for this purpose, as well as four other key areas.
A Federally-funded network, led by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada will rely on scientists from both government and academia on the area of potato starch bioplastics, together with projects to develop biopesticides, healthier potato varieties, pharmaceutical extracts and new extraction methods.
Getting down to the bottom of potato starch
The researchers will examine every aspect of potato starch, from its molecular properties, all the way through to the final bioplastic product.
The CAD$5.3m project aims to give Canadian potato farmers a boost, while also serving key industries and market growth areas.
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Key to the bioplastics area of the project will be research into the development of new potato varieties with enhanced starch properties, crucial to the production of industrial starch suitable for bioplastics.
Enhancing potato starch processing
Currently industrial potato starch is produced from a patented process which converts it into a plastic-like resin that can be blow molded into a variety of different packaging, including bottles for products like shampoo and body lotion, cream pots and make-up casing.
The process involved in producing the resin is said to be more efficient than that for standard plastics and crucially avoids petrochemicals while also increasing the ability to recycle the packaging, hitting all the right eco-friendly buttons.
However, the Canadian researchers believe that further research will enable them to improve the processing of potato starch for bioplastics, helping to increase its applications, improve water resistance, stronger mechanical properties and greater processing capabilities.