A Review of the Applications and Biodegradation of Polyhy-droxyalkanoates and Poly(lactic acid) and Its Composites
Overconsumption of plastic goods and improper handling of petroleum-derived plastic waste have brought a plethora of negative impacts to the environment, ecosystem and human health due to its recalcitrance to degradation. These drawbacks become the main driving force behind finding biopolymers with the degradable properties. With the advancement in biopolymer research, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and poly(lacyic acid) (PLA) and its composites have been alluded to as a potential alternative to replace the petrochemical counterpart. This review highlights the current synthesis process and application of PHAs and PLA and its composites for food packaging materials and coatings. These biopolymers can be further ameliorated to enhance their applicability and are discussed by including the current commercially available packaging products. Factors influencing biodegradation are outlined in the latter part of this review. The main aim of this review article is to organize the scattered available information on various aspects of PHAs and PLA, and its composites for packaging application purposes. It is evident from a literature survey of about 140 recently published papers from the past 15 years that PLA and PHA show excellent physical properties as potential food packaging materials.