Scientists have found a way to turn discarded shrimp shells into biodegradable plastic.
The project could help alleviate waste and reduce plastic pollution
Scientists at Nile University clean and chemically treat shrimp shells, then ground them up and dissolve them in a solution that dries to form plastic.
Harvard’s Wyss Institute has been researching medical applications for the plastic
Wyss Institute researchers have developed a fully degradable bioplastic by isolating a material called chitosan found in shrimp shells and forming a laminate with silk fibroin protein that mimics the microarchitecture of natural insect cuticle. The new material, called “Shrilk”, can be used to manufacture objects without the environmental threat posed by conventional synthetic plastics, and then it rapidly biodegrades when placed in compost releasing nitrogen-rich nutrient fertilizer. Because chitosan and fibroin are both used in FDA-approved devices, Shrilk also may be useful for creating implantable foams, films and scaffolds for surgical closure, wound healing, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine applications.
(main photo) inhabitat.com
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