Development of Biodegradable Plastic as Mango Fruit Bag
Plastics have achieved a dominant position in agriculture because of their transparency, lightness in weight, impermeability to water and their resistance to microbial attack. It is use as food and fruits packaging, fruit bag, food container, seedling bag, mulching film, protective for greenhouse, dryer shed and among others. However, this generates higher quantity of wastes that are difficult to dispose by farmers. The plastic residues remain on the soil for some years as large pieces and they are impediment to plant growth and also a potential hazard to animals if the land is subsequently put down to grass. To address these problems, the project aim to develop and evaluate the biodegradable film for mango fruit bag during development. Cassava starch and polybutylene succinate (PBS) was used in the development biodegradable film. The PBS and starch was melt-blended in a twin-screw extruder and then blown into film extrusion machine. The physic-chemical-mechanical properties of biodegradable fruit bag were done following standard methods of test. Field testing of fruit bag was also conducted to evaluate its durability and efficiency field condition.
The PHilMech-FiC fruit bag is made of biodegradable material measuring 6 x 8 inches with a thickness of 150 microns. The tensile strength is within the range of LDPE while the elongation is within the range of HDPE. However, it has higher density, thickness swelling and absorbed more water. It is projected that after thirty six (36) weeks, the film will be totally degraded. Results of field testing shows that the quality of harvested fruits using PHilMech-FiC biodegradable fruit bag in terms of percent marketable, non-marketable and export, peel color at ripe stage, flesh color, TSS, oBrix, percent edible portion is comparable with the existing bagging materials such as Chinese brown paper bag and old newspaper.
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Published by INSIGHT - Indonesian Society for Knowledge and Human Development