Modification of natural polymers

Modification of natural polymers

The demand for new types of polymers is rapidly increasing. By modifying biopolymers we can add a variety of interesting properties, such as biodegradability and heat & moisture resistance.

Biopolymers are used in a number of applications, such as biobased materials, chemicals and other products. They consist of natural, renewable sources including carbohydrates, oils, fibres and proteins. Biopolymers can have unique characteristics such as antimicrobial properties, which can be interesting for food packaging.

Adapting and improving characteristics

By modifying biopolymers we can improve and add a variety of characteristics. For example, we can make the polymers more heat or moisture resistant, more soluble in water, more sustainable, more flexible, more transparent, and more compatible and/or biodegradable. Biopolymers may also have unique characteristics such as antimicrobial effects, which can be used to add value to end products.

Modifying biopolymers is realised chemically by changing the structure of polymer chains, by processing or by adding additives such as plasticisers.

Research and facilities

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research works with scientists that are specialised in chemical and enzymatic methods and techniques to modify biopolymers. In addition we have the technological expertise and facilities to process these biopolymers into end products up to a pilot-scale.

Unique combination of expertises

Existing polymer chains are analysed to develop new biopolymers for clients. We perform pilot studies, develop and test unique new applications, and align the process to meet the specific demands of our clients. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research works with small and large companies, multinationals and regional producers, and takes part in various national and European research programmes into biopolymer development. The combination of our knowledge of raw materials (biomass), chemical processes, processing and potential end products makes us a unique partner.

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