The Prospect of Talas Bogor (Colocasia esculenta(l.) schott) as Bioplastic Raw Material to Improve Food Quality.

Talas bogor is one of domestic plant from Bogor city which is not yet developed. Talas Bogor has a good adaptation ability in tropical climate and can grow very well in Indonesia. Productivity of talas bogor is 30 ton/ ha. From those facts, we can infer that, talas bogor has a big potency to develop as high value for food and non-food use. Until now, people only use talas bogor as food source. From talas bogor, we can produce are chips and flour. Whereas, talas can also be used to produce as non food product such as bioplastic package. Bioplastic in the future is very promising, because global warming issue, people will be more aware about their environment.

Using talas as alternative raw material bioplastic has several advantages. Talas is easy to grow without special treatment. Talas is also cheap lower than USD 40 sen/ kg, polylactic acid derived from talas is predicted to reach 4,5 tons per 30 tons of talas. By using talas, we don’t need to worry about our food security, because we will not disturb staple food supply. Thus, we can produce polylactic acid with lower price with the same quality (by assumption : equipment, work wages, and capital are cateris paribus).

Talas bogor can produce 65% starch that will be used as raw material substrates to produce lactic acid through fermentation process by homolactic microbes. This lactic acid then is esterified and polymerized to produce polylactic acid. Properties exhibited by polylactic acid are very suitable either for food or non-food packaging because it is a good barrier for water and oxygen. Polylactic acid has almost the same mechanical properties with polystirene and polyethylene tereftalat and polyprolene so that it can be processed with conventional plastic molding machine. As biodegradable plastic, composting time for polylactic acid is relatively short, about 2-6 weeks. Polylactic acid until now is one of the most potential plastic raw material to develop, because it is easier to develop, easier to process in molding process, and the price is cheaper than other bioplastics.

Bioplastic has important role in enhancing food quality to replace synthetic plastic. It’s because plastic packaging as primary packaging have a direct contact with product. This interaction is classified as external interaction that has hazardous potential. In plastic packaging, physicochemical degradation in packaging and food can not be avoided. Until now, producer can only reduce its risk so that it is still accepted by consumer requirement. Hazardous potential of this is monomer migration which comes from package to food. The monomers emerge because of imperfect chemical reaction and left residue. These residues are carcinogenic if they are accumulated in body. Bioplastic especially polylactic acid is safer, because if there is migration components from polylactic acid, the residue comes from organic-natural compound so it will not harmful for body. A good and safe package will increase food product quality because defect of quality can be minimized.

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