Commercial potato protein concentrate as a novel source for thermoformed bio-based plastic films with unusual polymerisation and tensile properties
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Commercial potato protein concentrate (PPC) was investigated as a source of thermoformed bio-based plastic film. Pressing temperatures of 100 to 190 degrees C with 15 to 25% glycerol were used to form PPC films. The shape of the tensile stress-strain curve in thermoformed PPC was controlled by glycerol level and was independent of processing temperature. Tensile testing revealed that elongation at break increased with processing temperature while Young's modulus was unaffected by processing temperature, both in contrast to previous results in protein based systems. Also in contrast to previous studies, Young's modulus was found to be only sensitive to glycerol level. Maximum tensile stress increased with increasing processing temperature for PPC films. Maximum stress and strain at break correlated with the extractable high molecular weight protein content of the processed films measured with size exclusion chromatography. Infrared absorption indicated that the content of beta-sheet structure increased from the commercial protein concentrate to that pressed at 100 degrees C, but did not further develop with increasing press temperature. Changes in structural arrangements were observed by small angle X-ray scattering indicating the development of different correlation distances with processing temperature but with no clear long range order at the supramolecular level. The novel Young's modulus behaviour appears to be due to constant secondary structure or the effect of aggregated protein structure formed during protein production. Unique strain at break behaviour with processing temperature was demonstrated, likely due to new connections formed between those aggregates.