Mondli‬ ‭Abednicko Masanabo ‭


Consumer and Food Sciences


MSc Food Science (Distinction)

The study focused on developing and characterization of biodegradable plastics from renewable agro-based sources. Maize starch and a maize prolamin proteins, zein was used as agro-based sources. Maize starch and zein were mixed, plasticized with glycerol and melt processed using extrusion and compression moulding to produce a composite film. It was widely reported in literature that the melt processing of starch and zein resulted in an incompatible composite with poor material properties because starch is hydrophilic and zein is hydrophobic. The study investigated the effect of Sodium hydroxide on the compatibility and material properties of glycerol-plasticized thermoplastic maize starch-zein composite films produced by extrusion followed by compression moulding. The study demonstrated that the addition of sodium hydroxide to starch-zein composite films changed the microstructure and molecular structure of the composite films leading to improvement in the compatibility of starch and zein and improving the material properties, such as an increase in elongation at break and toughness of the composite films.


[email protected]


  • Primary supervisor: Prof MN Emmambux
  • Co-supervisor: Prof SS Ray

Research profiles


  • South African Association of Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST)
  • Golden key International Honour Society member.
Published by Gertruida Erasmus

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