from Starch and Cellulose
Many crops are grown for their carbohydrate
content as feedstock, rather than for their food value. In the
EU this includes wheat, maize, sugar beet and potatoes. In other
parts of the world, for example the US, corn is commonly grown.
Starch is found in plants, and is their main energy store. It
has a complex structure based on linked glucose rings, and is
extracted from plants as industrial starch.
Although many traditional starch products have faced stiff competition
from synthetic alternatives, interest remains high because of
its renewable nature.
Starch is also an important source of glucose, Opens glucose pop-up
again from which many other materials can be synthesised.
Cellulose derived from wood pulp has been
used for many years in the manufacture of polymers and other products.
||fibres for fabric, photographic
film, spectacle frames
||screwdriver handles, pneumatic tubing
||a silk substitute, manufactured from
|4-oxopentanoic acid (levulinic acid)
|used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals,
plastics and rubbers, and the fuel additive methyl tetrahydrofuran
(MTHF)Newer processes are now available that can make use
of cellulose-containing waste from paper-making, paper recycling
and agricultural residues
Newer cellulose fibres
In 1991 a new cellulose-based fibre with
the generic name lyocell arrived on the market, developed by Courtaulds
as Tencel®. Although manufactured from cellulose, like rayon,
it is structurally sufficiently unique to be regarded as a new
class of fibre.
The product and manufacturing process are particularly significant
for several reasons:
- The feedstock is wood pulp from managed
- Manufacture uses a non-toxic, biodegradable
solvent in a closed loop process - over 99% is re-used on each
cycle of the loop
- Lyocell is biodegradable and recyclable
Lyocell is used in a wide range of clothing
and household textiles.
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