Microstructure and thermal and functional properties of biodegradable films produced using zein

Abstract Research is being conducted in an attempt to produce biodegradable packaging to replace plastic products, thereby reducing solid waste disposal. In this work, zein films were produced from vegetable oils (macadamia, olive and buriti) and from pure oleic acid. The surface of zein-based films made using oleic acid has a good lipid distribution. The high content of oleic acid produced a film with the greatest elongation at break (8.08 ± 2.71%) due to the greater homogeneity of the protein matrix. The different oils did not affect the glass transition temperature (Tg). Tg curves of films with fatty acids showed a reduction in mass at between 50 and 120 °C due to water evaporation. At 120 °C the weight loss was 3-5% and above this temperature further weight loss was observed with the highest loss being seen in the film made using pure oleic acid. In conclusion, although biodegradable films were produced using the four different oils, the film made from pure oleic acid has the best characteristics.