Understanding properly about the biological material PLA – the main ingredient of AnEco products

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Recently, various safe and eco-friendly packagings are sharply developed in the world. Biological-based materials are gradually replaced petroleum-based materials. Biodegradable materials such as polylactic acid (PLA) are deemed as potentials for this development thanks to their decomposability by nature, not causing environmental pollution and not depending on increasing price due to scarity of oil.

What is PLA?

Corn starch-based PLA (polylactic acid) biological material is known as a renewable source from agricultural production, unlike other polymers made from petroleum-based materials. Particularly, PLA is friendly to the environment thanks to its significant biodegradability (completely decomposed within 90 to 180 days, depending on the biodegradation conditions).

Biological materials are derived from natural materials

Therefore, in the past ten years, PLA has been intensively researched and widely used in the market, replacing the non-biodegradable petroleum-based polymers, being suitable for manufacturing packagings, food wraps and disposable products.

How is PLA produced?

Biodegradable materials such as PLA are synthesized from biomass resources available in the nature, which undergo a process of microbial fermentation to form lactic acid, and it will be subsequently synthesized into PLA (polylactic acid).

Microbial fermentation-based PLA production steps :

PLA production process

Step 1: Pretreatment of biomass resources

Step 2: Hydrolyze plant biomass by enzymes and fermented to form hydrolysate

Step 3: The plant biomass hydrolysate is refined to form lactic acid

Step 4: Lactic acid is applied with a strict synthesis to create polylactic acid (PLA)

PLA and its pros – cons

PLA is a highly biodegradable plastic with a short decomposition time, therefore it can save a certain amount of energy to handle PLA.

Meanwhile, this polymer has a high biological compatibility and is not toxic to the human body, so it is used in many fields, such as packagings.

Biodegradable bag which is contains PLA

Currently, Biodegradable Material (PLA) shows lots of advantages compared to traditional plastics, especially regarding to environment. Hence, researching and developing products based on this material can minimize plastic waste accumulated in the environment and protect the nature and living creatures on the earth.

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