Mechanical and Barrier Properties of Films from Millet Protein Pennisetin
Journal article, 2011
Plastics are one of the most commonly used materials today in an immense range of applications. Since plastics originate from petroleum, which is not a renewable resource, we need to find alternatives to achieve environmentally sustainable goals. One of our most abundant renewable resources is cereals; wheat gluten is recognized as a replacement for synthetic plastics. Another cereal protein is pennisetin from pearl millet, which can grow in more arid areas and is therefore an important crop in times of climate change. In contrast to gluten, the material properties of pennisetin have as yet been relatively unexplored. This work evaluated the mechanical and barrier properties of pennisetin films, including three different plasticizers (glycerol only, glycerol/citric acid mixture, and glycerol/lactic acid/polyethylene glycol mixture). The films were cast from ethanol solutions. It was found that all of the three plasticizers resulted in approximately equal thermomechanical properties in the pennisetin films. However, the glycerol/citric acid mixture seemed to give more beneficial tensile and barrier properties. The advantage of this plasticizer mixture was believed to be due to the altered microstructure of the films. The material properties of pennisetin were found to be fully comparable to those of other cereal protein materials.