How Polylactic Acid Is A Revolutionary Plastic And It Is Made Up Of 100 % Renewable Resources

1762 WordsOct 30, 20148 Pages
Polylactic acid is a revolutionary plastic and is being labelled the “post-petroleum plastic” as it is made up of 100% renewable resources which are starch rich products such as corn and sugarcane. The hype for this plastic is huge due to the current state of the world climate and the pollution that humans are casting upon the planet. There are many different ways that Polylactic acid can be formed as lactic acid has enantiomers or optical isomers and this causes the processes of forming Polylactic acid to have different paths as lactic acid can take different forms. I will focus on the production of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) which forms as a result of the polymerisation of L,L-lactide. This production of the renewable and biodegradable polymer Polylactic Acid is a very complicated process and involves many steps. The steps of this process go like this… Starch (C6H10O5)  L-lactate (C3H5O3)  L,L-Lactide ((C6H8O4) + H2O)  Polylactic Acid ((C3H4O2)n) in the form of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). First of all the corn has to be wet milled, this separates the starch within the corn from the water. Once the starch has been separated it is then heated with enzymes or acid, sometimes both in order to convert the starch completely to dextrose. The dextrose is then fermented and the multiple steps of glycolysis begin to take place with enzyme catalysts being used in order to reach the chemical Pyruvate (COO-COCH3). The Pyruvate reacts with Hydrogen and enzyme catalysts to form

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