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Mexican Scientist Discovers a Way to Turn Nopal Cactus Into Biodegradable Plastic

As the crisis of plastic waste grows, researchers have looked for various ways to cut down on single-use plastics, with many cities and countries across the world seeking to put an end to plastic bags, straws, and other common products in favor of more sustainable, environmentally sound options.  And at the University of the Valley of Atemajac (UNIVA) which lies just outside of Guadalajara in Mexico’s Jalisco state, chemical engineering professor Sandra Pascoe Ortiz has found a novel alternative to plastic—one based on nopal, or prickly pear cactus, which has long been a national symbol of Mexico and a crucial staple of the Mexican diet.  Pascoe and her students have devised a way to form a new biodegradable plastic using the juice from the edible cactus’ fruit, known as the tuna, to make the innovative new product.  Read more...

 

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