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Filipino Scientist Made Bioplastic Using Mango and Seaweeds

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  • Bio-polymers known as pectin and carrageenan are found in mango and seaweed, respectively.
  • Montinola chose mango and seaweed because of their abundance.
  • The bio-plastic is completely water-soluble and can imitate the motion of our body.

Microplastics are among the environment’s sneakiest enemies. These tiny plastics are invisible, water-insoluble, and pollute the Earth to its deepest crevice. They are everywhere, from the depths of the oceans to the salt that we put on our food.

In this respect, they are just like tardigrades, which will live long after the extinction of humans. They are that deadly and indestructible. This is why sustainable plastic alternatives are necessary to save the planet.

Just recently, a scientist from the Philippines created one made out of mango and seaweed.
Denxybel Montinola created this new biodegradable material using bio-polymers known as pectin and carrageenan, which are found in mango peels and seaweed respectively.
BPI DOST Science Awards 2019: Denxybel Montinola

Meet Denxybel Montinola from University of San Carlos in Cebu, a 2019 BPI DOST Science Awardee, and get to know more about his innovation in bioplastics.

Posted by BPI Foundation, Inc. on Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Montinola, a research intern from the Institute of Biological Chemistry at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, thought of using mango peels and seaweed because of their abundance, especially in the Philippines.

Mangoes and seaweed are among the country’s top export products.

Sustainability is not the only benefit of the bio-plastic that Montinola created. It is also better than the plastics that people are currently using. One, the bioplastic is totally water-soluble and will not turn into tiny plastic particles.

Two, it can imitate the motion of our body.

“Not only we can make a bio-plastic out of it, but we can also create a tissue scaffold that protects the burned area of our skin for example, or stop local bleeding,” Montinola explained.

More than 18 trillion pounds of plastic have been currently produced and more than 18 billion pounds of plastic are flowing into our oceans every year, according to National Geographic.

It harms marine animals such as turtles and gets on the fish that we eat.

This is why consumers and manufacturers are always searching for plastic alternatives, thus creating bio-plastics. Who knows, this newest bio-plastic might become one of the Philippines’ greatest contributions ever.

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