Arabinoxylans from cereal processing byproducts as a basis for biodegradable food packaging
C. ANDERSON (1), S. Simsek (2), L. Jiang (3) (1) North Dakota State University, Department of Plant Sciences, Fargo, ND, U.S.A.; (2) North Dakota State University, Department of Plant Sciences, Faro, ND, U.S.A.; (3) North Dakota State University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faro, ND, U.S.A..

Arabinoxylans (AX) are non-starch polysaccharides in the cell-walls of cereal crops including wheat and corn. Both of these crops are highly processed, and during the processing of these crops, there are large quantities of byproducts produced including wheat bran (WB), corn bran (CB), and dried distillers grains (DDG). These byproducts are currently used in animal feed, but they can also be used as a basis for biodegradable food packaging. When AX is used as a basis for food packaging, plasticizers must be added to create a flexible material that has the desirable mechanical and barrier properties. In this research, AX from WB, CB, and DDG was extracted using 3% sodium hydroxide, purified with alpha-amylase and protease, fractionated with 95% ethanol, dialyzed, and freeze dried. Then the AX was combined with glycerol or sorbitol at 10, 25, or 50% of the AX dry weight and used to create biodegradable food packaging material. The packaging materials had significantly different (P < 0.05) mechanical and barrier properties. The tensile strength of the CB AX with 10% glycerol was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than the other materials at 29.3 MPa. The material made from WB AX with 50% sorbitol had a puncture resistance of 10.1 N, which was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than the other materials. The WB materials had a significantly (P < 0.05) lower percentage of water soluble material than the CB and DDG materials. The water vapor transmission rate through the packaging materials increased significantly (P < 0.05) as the amount of plasticizer increased from 10 to 50%. These qualities all show great promise in the area of food packaging for a variety of foods. Once it is possible to package foods in this type of biodegradable food packaging on a commercial scale, the food industry will greatly increase its sustainability.

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