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An overview on the role of wheat gluten as a viable substitute for biodegradable plastics

Neha Patni

Neha Patni (center left) obtained a MPhil (Energy) from Non Conventional Energy Centre and a MSc (Chemistry) from University of Rajasthan and is currently pursuing her PhD at Nirma University. She has been working as an Assistant Professor at the Chemical Engineering Department, Institute of Technology, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, since 2008. She is an author of two books published internationally. She also has to her credit many papers published in international journals or presented at conferences. Her areas of interest are biofuels, chemical sensors, nanoscience, and polymer chemistry. She is a life member of the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) and the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE). Pujita Yadava (left), Vyoma Maroo (center right), and Anisha Agarwal (right) are pursuing their BTech in Chemical Engineering at the Institute of Technology, Nirma University, India.

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, Pujita Yadava , Anisha Agarwal and Vyoma Maroo

Abstract

Petroleum resources are limited and stringent environmental concerns are increasing; biodegradable materials made from renewable agricultural resources such as carbohydrates, starch and proteins are attracting much attention for sustainable development and environmental conservation. As per the annual production of wheat in India, it is the second largest producer in the world after China. In this paper, we explore the possibility of wheat protein known as gluten as a promising substitute for petroleum-based plastics and environment-friendly thermosetting composites. Plant proteins from wheat show an advantage for use as films and plastics because of their abundant resources, low cost, good biodegradability and suitable properties like rheological properties, water sensitivity, sound absorption and thermal behavior. The paper aims to explain the extraction of gluten and to review the blending of gluten with different plasticizers such as glycerol, water and some cross-linking agents to enhance the above-mentioned properties. An extensive review of the existing literature reveals that wheat gluten (WG)-based bioplastics are nontoxic and fully biodegradable, whatever the technological process is applied; thus, the paper also discusses the biodegradability of WG-based bioplastics. We conclude the paper by incorporating a critical summary of the various parameters and chemicals used to enhance the properties of gluten-based composites.


Corresponding author: Neha Patni, Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Technology, Nirma University, S.G. Highway, Ahmedabad-382481, Gujarat, India, e-mail:

About the author

Neha Patni

Neha Patni (center left) obtained a MPhil (Energy) from Non Conventional Energy Centre and a MSc (Chemistry) from University of Rajasthan and is currently pursuing her PhD at Nirma University. She has been working as an Assistant Professor at the Chemical Engineering Department, Institute of Technology, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, since 2008. She is an author of two books published internationally. She also has to her credit many papers published in international journals or presented at conferences. Her areas of interest are biofuels, chemical sensors, nanoscience, and polymer chemistry. She is a life member of the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) and the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE). Pujita Yadava (left), Vyoma Maroo (center right), and Anisha Agarwal (right) are pursuing their BTech in Chemical Engineering at the Institute of Technology, Nirma University, India.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the Institute of Technology, Nirma University, Gujarat, India, for providing the facilities and infrastructure for the preparation of this article.

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Received: 2013-11-19
Accepted: 2014-3-4
Published Online: 2014-4-26
Published in Print: 2014-8-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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