Review of the Most Important Methods of Improving the Processing Properties of Starch toward Non-Food Applications
Starch is the second most abundantly available natural polymer in the world, after cellulose. If we add its biodegradability and non-toxicity to the natural environment, it becomes a raw material very attractive for the food and non-food industries. However, in the latter case, mainly due to the high hydrophilicity of starch, it is necessary to carry out many more or less complex operations and processes. One of the fastest growing industries in the last decade is the processing of biodegradable materials for packaging purposes. This is mainly due to awareness of producers and consumers about the dangers of unlimited production and the use of non-degradable petroleum polymers. Therefore, in the present review, an attempt was made to show the possibilities and limitations of using starch as a packaging material. The most important physicochemical features of this biopolymer are discussed, and special attention is paid to more or less environmentally friendly methods of improving its processing properties.