Production of hemicellulose-based biodegradable films from agricultural wastes

Bahcegul, E.
Özkan, Necati
Bakir, U.
Owing to the increasing environmental awareness and restrictions together with the depletion of fossil-based resources, production of biodegradable films receives increasing attention to substitute at least a part of the largely consumed conventional synthetic plastics. Despite there are a variety of polymers that are used for biodegradable plastic production these alternatives are either more expensive compared to their non-biodegradable petroleum-based counterparts or obtained from sources such as corn or potatoes, which have the primary function of being nutritional substances. Thus production of low cost biodegradable plastics from non-nutritional renewable resources appears to be a major need. In this perspective, hemicellulose-based biodegradable films were produced from an agricultural waste, namely cotton stalk. The hemicellulose, xylan, is obtained from cotton stalks by alkali extraction followed by ethanol precipitation. The xylan obtained this way is a glucuronoxylan (GX). GXs are unable to form continuous films without the use of additives, especially plasticizers. However due to the extraction procedure used, which does not include any lignin removal stage before or after the extraction, continuous films of GX containing lignin were formed upon solvent casting that contained no plasticizers or other additives. This technique thus reduces the cost by removing the typical lignin removal stage making the process more environmental friendly as well. The polymer that was obtained from the extraction was dissolved in water and upon the evaporation of solvent slightly yellow transparent films were obtained with a thickness of approximately 50 μm. The films obtained this way were characterized by means of their mechanical properties. An ultimate tensile strength (UTS) value of 14 MPa with an elongation at break of 12% was obtained for the films. Films were also prepared by the addition of different plasticizers at different concentrations and these were characterized by means of the mechanical and water vapor transmission rate properties.


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Citation Formats
E. Bahcegul, N. Özkan, and U. Bakir, “Production of hemicellulose-based biodegradable films from agricultural wastes,” NEW BIOTECHNOLOGY, pp. 0–0, 2009, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: