Wednesday, May 26, 2010

USM Invents Environmental-Friendly Plastic

Kudos to USM, more kudos to those practising it after the creations :)

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has taken a step forward in the field of invention by producing an environmental-friendly, biodegradable plastic from fruit wastes to replace the non-degradable plastic, for packaging application.

School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering lecturer, Professor Dr Hanafi Ismail, who headed the three-member team for the research, said the biodegradable plastic was produced from tropical fruit wastes.

The wastes comprised banana, rambutan and jackfruit skins.

Hanafi said currently, most commercial plastic was made from natural gas and petroleum, which are non-degradable.

"Our aim is to solve the environmental problem caused by petroleum-based polymer which is inert to the micro-organism attack and non-degradable," he told reporters during the introduction of the products which they named Fruitplast, here Monday.

He said the process of producing Fruitplast took about a week to turn from a fruit waste to become a plastic film.

"We have conducted a degradation study on Fruitplast and it has proven that under the disposal condition, it would be degraded within a period of between three and six months," said Hanafi, adding that its manufacturing cost was 10 per cent cheaper than commercially available bio-degradable polymers.

"We are currently under the process of patenting Fruitplast before we commercialise the product in about a year's time," he said.

Meanwhile, Associate Prof Noor Aziah Abdul Azizi from the Food Science and Technology Division in the School of Industrial Technology, has produced noodles made from green banana.

She said noodles, commonly made from wheat flour, was nutritionally imbalanced as it was mainly a source of carbohydrate.

"We produce the noodles by replacing the wheat flour in noodles with green banana flour to make it high in dietary fibres and resistant starch with natural colour similar to that of Japanese soba noodle," she said, adding that the green banana noodles was named Greenana noodles.

She said the Greenana noodles was a dietary option for a sector of the population with particular caloric and glymic requirements -- diabetic and overweight individuals.

"We are currently in discussion with a government agency to commercialise Greenana noodles which are 10 per cent cheaper as compare to the organic noodles," she said.

She said Greenana noodles had bagged the Special Award for Best Invention and Silver Award for invention in Greenana noodles at the recent Korean International Women's Invention Exposition 2010 in Seoul.


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