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CURRAN, M. A. BIOBASED MATERIALS. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, ISBN: 9780471238966. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, , 1-19, (2010).
To inform the public.
Biobased materials refer to products that mainly consist of a substance (or substances) derived from living matter (biomass) and either occur naturally or are synthesized, or it may refer to products made by processes that use biomass. Following a strict definition, many common materials, such as paper, wood, and leather, can be referred to as biobased materials, but typically, the term refers to modern materials that have undergone more extensive processing. Materials from biomass sources include bulk chemicals, platform chemicals, solvents, polymers, and biocomposites (some materials may fall under more than one category). The many processes to convert biomass components to value-added products and fuels can be classified broadly as biochemical or thermochemical. In addition, biotechnological processes that rely mainly on plant breeding, fermentation, and conventional enzyme isolation also are used. Biobased materials are perceived as potentially greener alternatives than their petroleum-based counterparts; however, this claim is being scrutinized closely. New biobased materials that may compete with conventional materials are emerging continually, and the opportunities to use them in existing and novel products are just beginning to be explored.