Comparative Study of Common Vegetable Starches Essay

Published: 2019-11-05 03:00:30
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Category: Environment

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The purpose of this experiment is to be able to help the society with its environmental issues by creating biodegradable plastic out of common vegetable starches. Here, the The procedures that the researcher use in this investigatory project were all experimental and were based on Scientific Method. The researcher used environment-friendly materials which can be made into biodegradable plastics that will not harm the environment and will not add to pollution problems. Among th

The result was found that the product exhibited the desirable properties of a biodegradable plastic thus the product is completely biodegradable at disposal. The researcher conclude that among the different vegetable starches, _____________ starch is the most effective raw material for the development of biodegradable plastics due to its availability in large quantity, its relatively low cost and its biodegradability.


A. Background of the Study

The ever unending problem of waste disposal specifically the non-biodegradable one had contributed to the alarming worldwide problem of global warming. As an example, the experience storm surge of the island of Leyte due to increase of sea level, increase of water level among streets during heavy rain due to clogged drains, canals and sewerage. Using vegetable starches in developing biodegradable plastic is one big step to lessen, if not total eliminate, our global concerns. Generally, this study is conducted to replace the conventional non-biodegradable plastics to a more friendly biodegradable plastics using different vegetable starches. The cassava root is long and tapered, with a firm, homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind, about 1mm thick, rough and brown on the outside.

Commercial varieties can be 5 to 10 cm in diameter at the top, and around 15 cm to 30 cm long. A woody cordon runs along the roots axis. The flesh can be chalk-white or yellowish. Cassava roots are very rich in starch, and contain significant amounts of calcium (50 mg/100g), phosphorus (40 mg/100g) and vitamin C (25 mg/100g). However, they are poor in protein and other nutrients. In contrast, cassava leaves are a good source of protein, and are rich in the amino acid lysine, though deficient in methionine and possibly tryptophan. These components are components of biodegradable plastic.

The squash

The sweet potato

B. Significance of the Study

Once one of these vegetable starches known, this study will be very essential in the production of biodegradable plastics, which can lessen the tremendous piled up non-biodegradable garbages made by plastics thereby reducing harm to our environment.

C. Statement of the Problem

The problem is to compare which among the different vegetables; squash, sweet potato and cassava, which are rich in starch will be an effective component for biodegradable plastic.

D. Hypothesis

Cassava starch is the most effective component for biodegradable plastic.

E. Scope and limitations

This study will be focused on the comparison of the three common vegetables, namely, the squash, principal variable of this project is the cassava starch. The locale of this project is it could help save the environment and reduce use of plastic that takes a lot of years to degrade.


The word plastic came from the Greek word plastikos, meaning capable of being molded. Plastics can be as hard as metal or as soft as silk. They can take any shape in almost any form due to the versatility of the carbon, the most common backbone of polymer chains. Plastics can be conveniently divided into two categories: semi-synthetic, in which the basic chain structure is derived from a natural product, such as cellulose; and synthetic, which is built up chemically from small units or monomers. Despite the various applications of plastics, drawbacks have been encountered in three major points. Firstly, there are certain chemicals used in the manufacture of .plastics that may cause allergic reactions. Three is a need man from these threat. Secondly, since cellulose films are biodegradable; they are readily attacked by bacteria. Films and packaging materials from synthetic polymers are normally attacked at a very low rate. New polymers such is nylon, polyvinyl chloride and Polystyrene have replaced cellulose, the pioneer plastic material. As a result, these plastic materials have become permanent wastes.

There are various methods in making biodegradable plastics. The simplest is the production of plastic from the extraction of casein from milk. Casein is obtained in two ways by souring, with the use of lactic acid, arid by boiling together with an additive, such as acetic acid.

Starch is a natural organic polymer manufactured by green plants through photosynthesis s to serve as metabolic reserve It occurs in the form of grains in many parts of the plant, principally in embryonic tissues such as seeds, fruits, roots and tubers.

Polyvinyl alcohol is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, thermoplastic synthetic resin. It is usually used for grease-proofing paper, in adhesives, in gas- and oil-impervious films and Coatings. This substance, although soluble in water, is insoluble in Common organic solvents.

Glycerol is the simplest trihydric alcohol. In commercial form, it is called glycerin. It is a colorless odorless and viscous liquid with a sweet taste. It is completely soluble in water and alcohol but is only slightly soluble in many common solvents, such as ether, ethyl acetate and dioxane. It is widely used in coatings and paints, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Plastic production is relatively new technology. Experiments are being conducted to relieve the negative effects of overproducing plastics. By changing its raw materials and additives, commercial plastic may be improved so that it will become degradable while retaining its good quality. Cassava (Manihot esculenta), also called manioc, tapioca or yuca, is one of the most important food crops in the humid tropics, being particularly suited to conditions of low nutrient availability and able to survive drought (Burrell, 2003). The plant grows to a height of 1 to 3 m and several roots may be found on each plant. Although cassava leaves are sometimes consumed, the major harvested organ is the tuber, which is actually a swollen root.

The plant is propagated mostly from stem cuttings. A major limitation of cassava production is the rapid post-harvest deterioration of its roots which usually prevents their storage in the fresh state for more than a few days (Okezie and Kosikowski, 1982). Cassava ranks very high among crops that convert the greatest amount of solar energy into soluble carbohydrates per unit of area. Among the starchy staples, cassava gives a carbohydrate production which is about 40% higher than rice and 25% more than maize, with the result that cassava is the cheapest source of calories for both human nutrition and animal feeding. A typical composition of the cassava root is moisture (70%), starch (24%), fiber (2%), protein (1%) and other substances including minerals (3%) Compared to other crops, cassava excels under suboptimal conditions, offering the possibility of using marginal land to increase total agricultural production (Cock, 1982).


Cassava Tubers were ground and squeezed to extract its starch. Starch obtained was weighed and divided into three equal parts; 50 grams in trial 1, trial 2 and trial 3. T1, T2 and T3 also consisted of 50 ml Polyester resin and increasing variations of Polymer MEKP Hardener; 50 grams for T1, 100 grams for T2 and 150 grams in T3. The components in every treatment or trial were mixed, stirred and then poured in 3 different shirts with Petroleum Jelly and then sun-dried. Afterwards, different methods were used to test the effectivity of the plastic. T1, T2 and T3 were sun-dried but they did not look like a plastic at all. The researchers observed the product while waiting for it to dry but there were no signs of turning into a plastic.

The Cassava starch was too thick and the researchers realized that it would not turn into a plastic because of its heavy weight and it would take more time before it would dry because of its thickness. After letting T1, T2 and T3 dry under the sun, it became hard. Although the researchers had unexpected results and the Cassava starch did not turn into plastic, studies have already proven that Cassava starch could be used for making various types of packaging products. Cassava is a promising raw material for the development of biodegradable plastics.

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