Future prospects

Future prospects

CHAPTER 12 Future prospects Contents References Further reading Relevant websites 216 217 217 “Bio-based polymer industry is catching up with fossi...

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Future prospects Contents References Further reading Relevant websites

216 217 217

“Bio-based polymer industry is catching up with fossil fuel based chemical industry, that has increased within the last two decades” (Babu et al., 2013). The production of biobased materials from renewable raw materials has become a reality due to the advancements in white biotechnology. Many countries are conducting extensive R&D in the area of biobased packaging materials. Future prospects of biobased polymers/materials appear to be bright. Biorefinery productsdmaterials produced from wood; regenerated cellulose from wood or plant sourcesdhave attracted considerable research attention in the last few years and this trend is likely to continue (Weber, 2000). “Multilayers of biobased coatings and combinations of biobased- and inorganic layers and/or synthetic barriers for improving the functionality may become important solutions in future. Market forecasts and trends are opening new perspectives for biobased materials as alternatives in the packaging industry. Customers are looking for eco-solutions on the market and studies of consumer behavior indicate that consumers are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products” (www.cellulosechemtechnol.ro/pdf/CCT7-8(2015)/p. 709-713.pdf). In the future, the costs for biobased materials are likely to reduce because of the increased availability of raw materials and higher production capability and efficiency. Horizon 2020 is offering an opportunity that should be used for developing the budding technologies and continue to refine products from renewable raw materials (www.cellulosechemtechnol.ro/pdf/CCT7-8(2015)/p.709-713.pdf). Challenges that should be addressed in the future comprise of raw material management, cost of production, and performance of biobased polymers. Economy of scale will be the major challenge for production of biomonomers and polymers from sustainable raw materials (paperity.org). Manufacturing large-size plants is not easy because the experience in new technologies and estimation of supply/demand balance is missing. For making these technologies cost-effective, it is vital to develop the following: • Logistics for biomass substrate • New routes for manufacturing by replacing existing methods with high yields • New strains of microorganisms/enzymes • Efficient strategies for downstream processing for recovery of biomaterials Biobased Polymers ISBN 978-0-12-818404-2, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-818404-2.00012-6

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Biobased Polymers

Biobased industry focuses on bioconversions of monomers and polymers (paperity.org). The performance of these products is good. The existing products can be replaced relatively easier with performance matching with that of bioversions. The properties of these materials/polymers is comparable to that of fossil-based polymers. In recent years, several efforts have been made to use new biobased polymers/materials showing better performance. For instance, in the United States, Nature Works LLC has developed new varieties of polylactic acid having better thermal and mechanical properties (Babu et al., 2013). New polylactic acid -tri block copolymers perform like thermoplastic elastomer. Efforts are being made to develop various polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), polyesters, and polyamides, etc. having different final properties for use in several industrial applications. The problem with some of these biopolymers/materials is that they cannot be processed in the equipment currently being used. “Extensive information is available on additive-based chemistry developed for improving the performance and processing of fossil fuel-based polymers, and this knowledge can be used for developing new additive chemistry for improving the performance of bio-based polymers” (Ray and Bousmina, 2005). Additives have been developed to improve the performance of a few biobased polymers like polylactic acid and PHAs, by developing new copolymers or mixing with other polymers. But, the additive market for biopolymers is not big (link. springer.com). The justification of developmental efforts becomes difficult according to some major suppliers. Nanoparticles have been used for improving the performance of polymers produced from petroleum. Various nanoreinforcements have been developed. These comprise “cellulose nanowhiskers, carbon nanotubes, graphene, nanoclays and 2-D layered materials. When these nanofillers are combined with bio-based polymers, a large number of physical properties such as barrier, flame resistance, thermal stability, solvent uptake, biodegradability rate, relative to unmodified polymer resin could be improved. These improvements are usually achieved at low filler content” (Babu et al., 2013). Nanoreinforcement is a promising route for producing new biomaterials for many applications. Biobased polymers are now being produced on a commercial scale but, there are many factors that should be considered for their viability on a long term (paperity.org). The worldwide demand for food and energy is increasing. Therefore, the feedstock competition would also increase. The renewable substrates currently being used for producing biobased polymers/materials usually compete with food-based products. “The production of first-generation bio-fuel will place unfeasible demands on biomass resources and will be a threat to the sustainability of biopolymer production as it is to food production. Indeed the European commission has changed its targets downwards for first-generation biofuels since October 2012, showing its preference for nonfood sources of sugar for biofuel production” (EurActiv.com 2012). Efforts have been made for using cellulose-based substrates for producing sugars for biopolymers (Jong et al., 2010).

Future prospects

Biobased polymers are getting closer to the reality of replacing conventional polymeric materials than ever before. Currently these materials are generally used in several areas from commodity to advanced applications, thanks to developments in the area of biotechnology and public awareness. But, in spite of these developments, there are some disadvantages that prevent the wider use of biomaterials (paperity.org). The increased use of sustainable packaging products by retailers will increase replacement of non-renewable packaging materials with renewable ones. Manufacturers adopting biodegradable packaging materials will benefit through cost and tax reductions. Initiatives by governments of many countries, promoting the use of sustainable packaging materials are encouraging retailers and intermediaries to adopt biodegradable materials for packaging purposes. Growing consumer awareness and the increasing use of biodegradable packaging materials in retail outlets have a favorable impact on the global biodegradable packaging materials market. Increased consumer spending and rising consumer demand for fresh and minimally processed food and beverages are also boosting the demand for biodegradable packaging materials such as bioplastics and paper. (https://www.packworld.com/.../sustainability/...biodegrade/futurebiodegradable-paper)

At the present time, there are two major issues preventing the growth of sustainable polymers. The first is that the water vapor barrier offered by a biodegradable polymer is not as effective as the one offered by low-density polyethylene material. The second issue is that biobased, biodegradable packaging materials are more expensive to produce in comparison to fossil-based polymers. There are other options that are greener than fossil-based polymers. Biobased, nonbiodegradable plastics offer reduced carbon footprint and good performance at a reasonably competitive price. Nanotechnology is playing a crucial role in filling the gaps of packaging material developments in the areas of active and intelligent packaging. But, the major problem with nanomaterials is that they migrate into food, which may result in deleterious health effects (Mihindukulasuriya and Lim, 2014; Echegoyen and Nerin, 2013). Some nanoparticles may cause vascular disease, pulmonary inflammation, and intracellular damages (Brown et al., 2000; Das et al., 2008; Nemmar et al., 2002; Oberdorster et al., 1994). The health and safety properties of several nanomaterials are not known completely. Therefore, food safety must be the major issue during the use of nanomaterials in food packaging. Detailed toxicological studies are required for finding out the risks involved. Food regulations have been established for protecting the consumers from forced exposure to risk. The compounds migrating from packaging material to the food should be investigated in accordance with the European regulation act (Mihindukulasuriya and Lim, 2014; Kruijf et al., 2002). Further, the European Food Safety Authority has instructed that compounds used in packaging should not be harmful to human beings. The compounds released or absorbed should not delude the consumer (De Jong et al., 2005). The European act and US Food and Drug Administration regulations establish the maximum amount of the nanoparticles that can be present in the food (Chaudhry et al., 2008).



Biobased Polymers

But, precise methods for detection and quantification of nanomaterials migrating from packaging are not available. Therefore, imposing the regulations will be in vain. “When using nanomaterials in food packaging application, due to the requirement of regulatory approval, companies should work jointly with government agencies for making sure that the regulatory requirements are fulfilled” (Mihindukulasuriya and Lim, 2014; Brody et al., 2011). “The other concern associated in nanotechnology developments of packaging system is cost effectiveness. The inclusion of intelligent packaging would increase the cost, particularly during the introduction of the product in the early phase. The profit margin of food is lower in comparison to other consumer products. The packaging cost should be 10% of the product cost” (Dainelli et al., 2008). So, for justifying the application, the use of nanotechnology must be based on cost-benefit analyses (Mihindukulasuriya and Lim, 2014; Restuccia et al., 2010). Another area that companies should take into account is consumer acceptance. The “nanophobia” of consumers for new nanotechnologies may result in poor acceptance, although these technologies may help improve the safety and quality of the food products. Perspectives of consumers toward nanotechnology are dependent on demographic and marketplace. Consumers in a few countries are ready to accept new technologies but in other countries seem to be less receptive to new developments. “Nanotechnology would curb the challenges associated with packaging materials. This will have a positive effect on the quality, safety, and shelf-life, of foods. This will eventually benefit both the producers as well as consumers. But, more R&D is required, particularly on the migration of nanomaterials in food and their impacts on environment, health and safety. A sustainable packaging solution can be obtained only if it is economically viable, and environmentally sustainable” (Mihindukulasuriya and Lim, 2014).

References Babu, R.P., O’Connor, K., Seeram, R., 2013. Current progress on biobased polymers and their future trends. Prog. Biomater. 2 (8), 1e16. Brody, A.L., Zhuang, H., Han, J.H., 2011. Modified Atmosphere Packaging for Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables. Wiley-Blackwell, Ames, Iowa, USA. Brown, D.M., Stone, V., Findlay, P., MacNee, W., Donaldson, K., 2000. Increased inflammation and intracellular calcium caused by ultrafine carbon black is independent of transition metals or other soluble components. Occup. Environ. Med. 57, 685e691. Chaudhry, Q., Scotter, M., Blackburn, J., Ross, B., Boxall, A., Castle, L., Aitken, R., Watkins, R., 2008. Applications and implications of nanotechnologies for the food sector. Food Addit. Contam. 25, 241e258. Dainelli, D., Gontard, N., Spyropoulos, D., Zondervan-van den Beuken, E., Tobback, P., 2008. Active and intelligent food packaging: legal aspects and safety concerns. Trends Food Sci. Tech. 19, 103e112. Das, M., Saxena, N., Dwivedi, P.D., 2008. Emerging trends of nanoparticles application in food technology: safety paradigms. Nanotoxicology 3, 10e18. De Jong, A.R., Boumans, H., Slaghek, T., Van Veen, J., Rijk, R., Van Zandvoort, M., 2005. Active and intelligent packaging for food: is it the future? Food Addit. Contam. 22, 975e979.

Future prospects

Echegoyen, Y., Nerin, C., 2013. Nanoparticle release from nanosilver antimicrobial food containers. Food Chem. Toxicol. 62, 16e22. EurActivcom, 2012. EU Calls Time on First-Generation Biofuels. http://www.euractiv.com/climateenvironment/eu-signals-generation-biofuels-news-515496. Jong, E.D., Higson, A., Walsh, P., Maria, W., 2010. Biobased chemicals: value added products from biorefineries. IEA Bioenergy Task 42, 1e34. Biorefinery. http://www.iea-bioenergy.task42biorefineries.com/publications/reports/?. Kruijf, N.D., Beest, M.V., Rijk, R., Sipilainen-Malm, T., Losada, P.P., Meulenaer, B.D., 2002. Active and intelligent packaging: applications and regulatory aspects. Food Addit. Contam. 19, 144e162. Mihindukulasuriya, S.D.F., Lim, L.T., 2014. Nanotechnology development in food packaging: A review. Trends Food Sci. Technol. 40, 149e167. Nemmar, A., Hoet, P.H.M., Vanquickenborne, B., Dinsdale, D., Thomeer, M., Hoylaerts, M.F., Vanbilloen, H., Mortelmans, L., Nemery, B., 2002. Passage of inhaled particles into the blood circulation in humans. Circulation 105, 411e414. Oberdorster, G., Ferin, J., Lehnert, B.E., 1994. Correlation between particle size, in vivo particle persistence, and lung injury. Environ. Health Perspect. 102, 173. Ray, S.S., Bousmina, M., 2005. Biodegradable polymers and their layered silicate nanocomposites: in greening the 21st century materials world. Prog. Mater. Sci. 50, 962e1079. Restuccia, D., Spizzirri, U.G., Parisi, O.I., Cirillo, G., Curcio, M., Iemma, F., Puoci, F., Vinci, G., Picci, N., 2010. New EU regulation aspects and global market of active and intelligent packaging for food industry applications. Food Control 21, 1425e1435. Weber, C. (Ed.), 2000. Biobased Packaging Materials for the Food Industry, Status and Perspectives. The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark, ISBN 87-90504-07-0.

Further reading Gange, A., 2010. Biopolymers in Packaging Applications. IntertechPira, USA. Pal, M., 2017. Nanotechnology: A New Approach in Food Packaging. J Food Microbiol Saf Hyg 2, 121. https://doi.org/10.4172/2476-2059.1000121.

Relevant websites www.cellulosechemtechnol.ro/pdf/CCT7-8(2015)/p.709-713.pdf. paperity.org. link.springer.com. www.packworld.com/.../sustainability/...biodegrade/future-biodegradable-paper. EurActiv.com 2012.