Researchers investigating alternatives to petroleum-based plastics have found that a bioplastic made from proteins found in egg whites demonstrate superior antibacterial properties and are fully biodegradable.
Bioplastics made from protein sources such as albumin and whey have shown significant antibacterial properties, findings that could eventually lead to their use in plastics used in medical applications such as wound healing dressings, sutures, catheter tubes and drug delivery, according to a recent study by the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
The bioplastic materials could also be used for food packaging. Researchers tested three nontraditional bioplastic materials, albumin, whey and soy proteins, as alternatives to conventional petroleum-based plastics that pose risks of contamination.
In particular, albumin, a protein found in egg whites, demonstrated tremendous antibacterial properties when blended with a traditional plasticizer such as glycerol.
The next step in the research involves a deeper analysis of the albumin-based bioplastic's potential for use in the biomedical and food packaging fields. The study is published in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science