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Applications of Starch Biopolymers for a Sustainable Modern Agriculture

Protected cultivation in modern agriculture relies extensively on plastic-originated mulch films, nets, packaging, piping, silage, and various applications. Polyolefins synthesized from petrochemical routes are vastly consumed in plasticulture, wherein PP and PE are the dominant commodity plastics. Imposing substantial impacts on our geosphere and humankind, plastics in soil threaten food security, health, and the environment. Mismanaged plastics are not biodegradable under natural conditions and generate problematic emerging pollutants such as nano-micro plastics. Post-consumed petrochemical plastics from agriculture face many challenges in recycling and reusing due to soil contamination in fulfilling the zero waste hierarchy. Hence, biodegradable polymers from renewable sources for agricultural applications are pragmatic as mitigation. Starch is one of the most abundant biodegradable biopolymers from renewable sources; it also contains tunable thermoplastic properties suitable for diverse applications in agriculture. Functional performances of starch such as physicomechanical, barrier, and surface chemistry may be altered for extended agricultural applications. Furthermore, starch can be a multidimensional additive for plasticulture that can function as a filler, a metaphase component in blends/composites, a plasticizer, an efficient carrier for active delivery of biocides, etc. A substantial fraction of food and agricultural wastes and surpluses of starch sources are underutilized, without harnessing useful resources for agriscience. Hence, this review proposes reliable solutions from starch toward timely implementation of sustainable practices, circular economy, waste remediation, and green chemistry for plasticulture in agriscience

Publication date: 17/05/2022

Author: Ashoka Gamage

Reference: doi: 10.3390/su14106085

MDPI (sustainability)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.