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Biodegradable plastics from animal protein coproducts: Feathermeal



This work describes the properties of plastics made from partially denatured proteins produced by the animal coproduct (rendering) industry and these plastics' fabrication. Specifically, plastic samples from partially denatured feathermeal protein were successfully produced by a compression-molding process. The modulus (stiffness) of the material obtained was found to be comparable with that of commercial synthetic materials, such as polystyrene, but was found to have lower toughness characteristics, which is a common phenomenon among plastics produced from animal and plant proteins. A reversible stress–strain property was observed over the yield region. Plastic-forming conditions for undenatured animal proteins, such as albumen and whey proteins, were also formulated for fabricating plastics out of these proteins' blends with feathermeal proteins. The resultant plastic samples that were developed of biomacromolecular blends, such as feathermeal/whey and feathermeal/albumen, demonstrated improved mechanical properties, specifically tensile strength, when compared with neat plastics from feathermeal proteins. The values for the stiffness of the feathermeal/whey blends deviated from simple mixing rule and showed a synergistic effect. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2008