Corn zein has been investigated for fabrication of biodegradable packaging materials. Our objective was to investigate the effect of added plasticizers, oleic and linoleic acids, on tensile properties and water absorption of zein sheets. Moldable resins were precipitated from aqueous ethanol dispersions of zein and fatty acids and rolled into sheets of ~0.5 mm in thickness. To increase plasticization effects, zein-oleic acid sheets were replasticized by heating them in fatty acid baths. Plasticization resulted in flexible sheets of high clarity, low modulus, and high elongation and toughness, although low tensile strength. Water absorption of zein sheets was lowered by plasticization, attributed in part to reduced mass fraction of zein. Polymerization of linoleic acid may have sealed off pores on sheet surfaces, thus slowing water absorption.
- Linoleic acid
- Oleic acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)