Indonesian Institute for Sciences Opts Nata De Coco for Bio-plastic

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nata de coco
Photo: greeners.co/Dewi Purningsih

Bogor (Greeners) – On a latest research, Indonesian Institute for Sciences reveals nata de coco, fermented coconut water, is potential as alternative substance of polymer on plastics.

Myrtha Karina Sancoyorini, research professor of Clean Technology Research at the institute, said that nata de coco, produced by Acetobackter xylinum bacteria, was originally meant for natural polymer substance for single use plastic, back in 2001.

However, current development and improved researches, nata de coco is used for high functional material plastic because of its stiff layer, or high elasticity modulus value and regas or low elasticity modulus value. Nata de coco with tensile strength reaches up to 200 megapascal.

“NDC’s water content is 95 percent and the rest is cellulose. In dry condition, nata which is fermented coconut water is stiff suitable for plastics which is also stiff if you want faster process,” said Sancoyorini in Bogor on Thursday (18/04/2019).

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Furthemore, she said that high functional material plastic made of nata de coco is very easy to compose. The result of nata de coco fermentation added with living bacteria of acid, such as vinegar or fermented tape, then add more glucose and dried. The result is similar to mica or thick plastic.

The process to manage nata de coco to be single use plastic is different with high functional material plastic. It will require long modifier and long result. Hence, she suggested to use natural ingredients to make environmentally friendly plastic bags which already being implemented by plastic industries, such as Ecoplas, Enviplast, Grene and Epi.

Currently, plastic packaging for single use plastic commonly used is thermoplastic polymer, which originates from oil, a limited and not naturally degradable substance.

“For single use plastic, we assess by using natural ingredients, such as cassava, and already being adapted by several companies. Compare to natural ingredients, nata de coco could not be used for single use plastic. It can be used but it requires more modifiers and the process will take long time,” she said.

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Furthermore, she said that the research on high potential material plastic if thrown away will be naturally disposable and does not turn into micro-plastic. Unfortunately, the test of natural degradation has yet to be done.

“If our bioplastic is bio-degradable, it means it produces CO2 and H20 and if the ingredient is made of water, it will exhaust as water. From the substance, nata de coco is as strong as conventional plastics for electronics and if it gets thrown away, it will be environmentally friendly. The structure will degrade faster than conventional, though we have yet to test for natural degradation, but we are sure it is degradable,” she said.

Reports by Dewi Purningsih

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