Different Andean crops were used to obtain starches not previously reported in literature as raw material for the production of biodegradable polymers. The twelve starches obtained were used to prepare biodegradable films by casting. Water and glycerol were used as plasticizers. The mechanical properties of the starch based films were assessed by means of tensile tests. Compost tests and FTIR tests were carried out to assess biodegradability of films. The results show that the mechanical properties (UTS, Young's modulus and elongation at break) of starch based films strongly depend on the starch source used for their production. We found that all the starch films prepared biodegrade following a three stage process and that the weight loss rate of all the starch based films tested was higher than the weight loss rate of the cellulose film used as control.

This article originally appeared in International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 48, 2011, Pages 603-606.