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Monday, May 12, 2014

Shrimp shells can be an alternative materials of plastic

A compound found in the skin of crustaceans and insect parts can provide abundant material and to replace many environmentally friendly plastic.
Cups and egg containers made of shrimp shell derived plastic are seen In this photo provided by the Wyss Institute. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/RDjcnl)
The compound is chitosan, which is more resistant form of chitin, which by researchers at the Wyss Institute for biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard said "the second most abundant organic material on Earth." Chitin is a polysaccharide found in the shells of hard skin or crustaceans.

After Wyss announced progress in creating materials based on chitosan in March, they were approached by a number of companies and entrepreneurs who want to learn about it and meneksplorasi possibility of commercial use, said Javier Fernandez, a lead researcher of this project.

For example, a simple drinking glass, can be made of approximately 200 grams of shrimp shell, or a handheld, Fernandez said.

A species of this animal, which is about the size of plankton, ie copepods, are expected to produce billions of tons of chitin per year. "That means that they have produced in the last 12 months roughly the same amount of chitin in the world than plastic production since 2009," he said.

According to Wyss Institute, Humans produce about 34 million tons of plastic waste per year, and only 7 percent recycle them. The rest end up in landfills and the ocean.

Those who are allergic to shrimp does not have to worry with chitosan materials, according to Fernandez, as part of the shrimp that causes allergies in the muscle, rather than in the skin. *** [EKA |FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | VOA NEWS]
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