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Processibility of corn protein blends and resulting properties of the extrudates

During the last decade, the global biofuels industry has experienced exponential growth. By-products such as high protein corn gluten meal (CGM) and high fibre distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) have grown in parallel. CGM has been shown to be suitable as a biopolymer; the high fibre content of DDGS reduces its effectiveness, although it is considerably cheaper. In this study, the processing behaviour of CGM and DDGS blends were evaluated and resulting extrudate properties were determined. Prior to processing, urea was used as a denaturant. DDGS:CGM ratios of 0, 33, 50, 66 and 100% were processed in a single screw extruder, which solely used dissipative heating, with a 2 mm circular die. Resulting screw speeds ranged from 216 to 228 rpm, and die exit temperatures ranged from 96 to 150oC. Blends containing DDGS were less uniformly consolidated and resulted in more dissipative heating. Blends showed multiple glass transitions, which is characteristic of mechanically compatible blends. Transmission electron microscopy revealed phase separation on a micro-scale, although distinct CGM or DDGS phases could not be identified. On a macro-scale, optical microscopy suggested that CGM-rich blends were better consolidated, supported by visual observations of a more continuous extrudate formed during extrusion. As with all biological materials, the extruded blends exhibited sorption behaviour over time, the magnitude of which varied according to blend ratio. EMC values ranged from approximately 0% to nearly 50%, depending upon the humidity level and blend ratio. Nonlinear regression was successfully used to model the effects of relative humidity and blend ratio on the equilibrium moisture contents, with a coefficient of determination of 99%. Future work should aim to also characterize the mechanical properties of these blends to assess their suitability as either bioplastic feedstock or pelletized livestock feed.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Rosentrater, K. A. & Verbeek, C. J. R. (2012). Processibility of corn protein blends and resulting properties of the extrudates. In Proceedings of Chemeca 2012: Quality of life through chemical engineering: 23-26 September 2012, Wellington, New Zealand. (pp. 1127-1136).
Engineers Australia
This article has been published in the proceedings of Chemeca 2012: Quality of life through chemical engineering. Used with permission.