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Abstract

Extrusion-blown film prepared from a semidry mixture of starch and poly(ethylene-co-acrylic acid) (EAA) cannot be sharply separated into its polymeric components by selective solvent extraction, and the two polymers have the outward appearance of being compatible. Also, the starch portion is resistant to enzyme attack, and starch domains are not visible by SEM. Further studies were therefore made on the starch–EAA system to determine reasons for the apparent compatibility between the two polymers, and evidence for polymer complex formation was obtained. Combination of aqueous ammonia solutions of starch and EAA led to an increase in viscosity, and a coprecipitate of starch and EAA separated from solution. Moreover, solvent extraction would not separate physical mixtures of starch and EAA prepared from aqueous solutions. Although both the linear (amylose) and branched (amylopectin) components of starch formed an apparent complex with EAA, a low molecular weight starch fraction and a high molecular weight dextran (a polysaccharide with α-(1[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]6) linked glucopyranosyl units) did not. These observations support the theory that a helical inclusion complex is formed from starch and EAA, which is similar to the well-known complexes produced from starch and fatty acids.