The term polymer is derived
from ancient Greek word “Polus” meaning many and “meros” meaning parts. Polymers
are macromolecules made up of many repeating small molecular units called
monomers. Biopolymers are biodegradable polymers that are derived from living
things. These include polysaccharides such as cellulose, starch, alginate,
carbohydrate polymers, animal- protein based biopolymer such as silk, wood,
gelatin, collagen etc. Biopolymers exhibit properties of biocompatibility and
biodegradability. Biopolymers copious, differed, and vital for humans, they exhibit
special properties and have they posses exceptional properties and have
significance with various applications. A number of properties and the process
utilizing inexhaustible resources makes biopolymers a prominent initiative in
industrial applications. Recently there has been an expanding enthusiasm for
the utilization of biodegradable materials for packaging, medicine,
agriculture, and other areas.  The
major advantage of biopolymer is its biological recognition,which supports cell
adhesion. The most common biopolymer is cellulose. It is the most abundant
organic compound on earth and comprises of 33% of all plant components.

Natural Biopolymers

Today major research
focus on biodegradable materials to overcome the problem of petroleum based
commodity plastic and main them is cost-effectiveness and unique properties
based biopolymers for valuable applications. Biopolymers have competitive
mechanical properties and biodegradability considered them as the most
promising materials. Among the natural polymers, starch is of interest.

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Based on
Source and biodegradability of polymer (a) Agro-resource biomass based
polymers, (b) Microbial synthesized polymers, (c) Chemically synthesized polymers
from agro-resources monomer and (d) Chemically synthesized polymers form fossil
resources monomers and polymers.  

·        
Sugar based biopolymer
:-
Polyhydroxibutyrate is an example of sugar based polymer which is obtained from
sucrose or starch by the process of bacterial fermentation. Polylactides are
made from lactic acid which is obtained from milk sugar, sugar beet, potatoes,
wheat etc. These decompose harmlessly in human body and are used for surgical
implants.

 

·        
Starch based
biopolymer
:- Starch can be extracted from potatoes, maize, wheat and tapioca and can  be modified in such a way that it can be
deformed and melted thermoplastically. Thermoplastic starch is a thermally processed starch
extracted from potatoes, tapioca, corn, maize, or rice, among others.
extrusion, molding, or thermoforming .The resulting material is suitable
for injection moulding and extruding.

·        
Cellulose based
biopolymer
:- Cellulose is used for making packaging material like cellophane since long, whether
in the form of pure cellulose or nitrocellulose, the material is wholly
biodegradable.

 

Synthetic biopolymers

Synthetic compounds often
referred to as “plastics” are derived from petroleum. Because of their
desirable properties, they are used as starting material for manufacturing of
biodegradable polymers. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), Poly (- caprolactone) (PCL),
Poly lactic acid (PLA), Polyglycolic acid (PGA), Polyhydroxy butyrate (PBS) are
examples of synthetic biopolymers. Aliphatic aromatic copolyesters have
technical properties resembling to those of polyethylene(LDPE). PLA is the most
promising synthetic biopolymer because it is made from agriculture products. PLA,
PGA, PLGA are extensively used in tissue engineering to treat patients
suffering from damaged or lost organs or tissues. They have exhibited the
properties of biocompatibility , non-toxicity and biodegradability. But its
relatively high price temperature resistivity and low biodegradability has
prevented it from reaching a large scale market. 

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