Advances in Physicochemical Properties of Biopolymers (Part 2)

Advances in Physicochemical Properties of Biopolymers (Part 2)

There is considerable diversity in polymers extracted from natural sources and much work has been done to classify them according to their physical and chemical properties. In the second part of ...
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Biopolymers of Microbial Origin

Pp. 109-193 (85)

Natalia A. Castillo, Alejandra L. Valdez and Julia I. Fariña

Abstract

Synthetic polymers play a significant role in the technological development of humankind and are obtained from petroleum by-products. Because of their physical properties, they can be used for the manufacture of a diversity of products ranging from simple garbage bags or contact lenses up to products for construction. Based on plastic skills such as low price, low weight, resistance to abrasion, impact and corrosion, inertia and versatility, they gradually replaced traditional materials like wood, stone and metal. However, these same advantages nowadays have become their worst drawback, turning them into wastes of difficult disposal and consequently, in a serious environmental problem. Additionally, their multiple usage in daily life has caused a massive increase in consumption and the consequent pollution problems. In this context, biopolymers have emerged as an ideal alternative to the synthetic polymer industry. Biopolymers provide a solution to the origin of the problem as coming from renewable resources, practically all of them being biodegradable, which is not the case for most synthetic polymers. Eco-friendly waste disposal of biopolymers takes advantage of their property of being degraded by soil microbiota, which significantly reduces CO2 emission as compared to conventional incineration. Therefore, the use of biodegradable biopolymers is also relevant from the point of view of global warming prevention. Based on this rationale, biopolymers based on renewable resources are generating an increasing interest, both in the overall society and particularly, in the plastic industry.

Keywords:

Applications, Biopolymers, Downstream processing, Exopolysaccharides, Fermentation, Physicochemical properties, Sustainable production.

Affiliation:

Laboratorio de Micodiversidad y Micoprospección, PROIMI-CONICET, Tucumán, Argentina.