This technology is a process for preparing biodegradable resins comprised of corn zein and fatty acids and forming the resins into sheets, thin films, and similar products useful in a broad range of food packaging and agricultural applications. Corn zein-based Biodegradable Resins present an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic.
Zein resins are new products derived from corn zein. Zein, a family of proteins found in corn, is solvent extracted, mixed with long chain fatty acids, chilled, washed and kneaded to form a moldable biodegradable plastic which can be extruded immediately to form products or pellitized for later use. Pellets can be stored or shipped to plastic mills to be formed into highly useable, edible, biodegradable, environmentally friendly products.
Consumer Replacement for plastic packaging materials such as trash and grocery bags; shrink films used to protect palletized products; food wraps used to prevent spoilage; or disposable food service ware such as plates, bowls, and cups.
Agricultural Weed Control: Rolled films produced from zein resin can be applied to planting beds or placed between row crops to prevent weeds. Since the product is fully biodegradable, there's no need to remove the preventative layer at the end of the growing season; saving time and money.
Cover for Round Hay Bales: Zein-based resin films can be used to protect hay bales from spoiling. Zein-based resins are completely edible; therefore, films do not need to be removed prior to their use.
Horticulture Containers manufactured from zein-based resins go directly from the green-house to a consumer's garden or planting bed, saving disposal of traditional plastic pots.
Multiple End-Use Products: Products manufactured from zein-based resins can be extruded, blown, or injection molded into a wide variety of forms. Examples include trays, bowls, clamshells, films which can be used for wraps and/or laminated, and edible hay bale wrappers.
Desirable Production Characteristics: Zein bioplastics are flexible, tough, heat sealable, able to accept color pigmentation, and producible in varying degrees of oxygen and carbon dioxide permeability.
Fully Biodegradable: Unlike commodity plastics that do not degrade, products manufactured from zein-based resins are completely biodegradable by native soil microflora; leaving no residual materials to dispose of or fear of ingestion by wildlife or production animals.
Abundance of Raw Material: Zein resins are derived from corn. Zein-based resins are categorized by the FDA as "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS): Products manufactured from zein-based resins can be used to package and/or protect food stuffs.
A method for preparing corn fiber oil. The method involves separating corn fiber from corn kernels (e.g., by a wet milling process), drying the corn fiber, grinding the dried corn fiber to produce ground corn fiber having a particle size of less than about 100 microns, combining the ground corn fiber with an aqueous solution having a specific gravity effective to float aleurone cells, removing the floating aleurone fraction, drying the aleurone fraction to form a dried aleurone fraction, grinding the dried aleurone fraction to form a ground aleurone fraction, extracting corn fiber oil from the ground aleurone fraction by a way selected from the group consisting of an organic solvent and supercritical fluid extraction, and separating the extracted corn fiber oil from the extraction medium.
Also shown is a method of recovering corn aleurone cells from corn fiber involving separating corn fiber from corn kernels by a wet milling process, drying the corn fiber, grinding the dried corn fiber to produce ground corn fiber having a particle size of less than about 100 microns, combining the ground corn fiber with an aqueous solution having a specific gravity effective to float aleurone cells, and removing the floating aleurone fraction.
A method of removing the hull from corn kernels wherein the method involves exposing the corn kernels to ammonia (e.g., gas-phase anhydrous) under conditions effective to remove the hull from corn kernels.
Methods and apparatus for processing corn into one or more corn products. Oil is extracted from corn or corn products or by-products with a solvent. The corn-solvent mixture is separated into streams, one of which preferably includes an extract containing at least oil and solvent, and another containing de-oiled corn solids and adsorbed solvent. The solvent is separated from oil, and the de-oiled, desolventized corn solids are processed to provide one or more corn products.
Method and apparatus for processing corn into one or more corn products including dextrose. In a preferred process, corn is processed and treated with solvent(s) to extract oil. The oil can be subsequently recovered using membrane technology. Zein may also be produced if the solvent is an alcohol. Starch in the deoiled meal is converted to dextrose by liquefaction and saccharification with enzymes. The reaction mixture containing the dextrose and other components is subjected to one or more unit operations such as screening, filtration, and/or membrane technology to produce one or more of corn gluten, soluble protein, dextrose, and fiber.