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T. G., Y.G.; Ballupete Nagaraju, S.; Puttegowda, M.; Verma, A.; Rangappa, S.M.; Siengchin, S. Biopolymer-Based Composites from Agricultural Waste Biomass. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 25 June 2024).
T. G. YG, Ballupete Nagaraju S, Puttegowda M, Verma A, Rangappa SM, Siengchin S. Biopolymer-Based Composites from Agricultural Waste Biomass. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 25, 2024.
T. G., Yashas Gowda, Sharath Ballupete Nagaraju, Madhu Puttegowda, Akarsh Verma, Sanjay Mavinkere Rangappa, Suchart Siengchin. "Biopolymer-Based Composites from Agricultural Waste Biomass" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 25, 2024).
T. G., Y.G., Ballupete Nagaraju, S., Puttegowda, M., Verma, A., Rangappa, S.M., & Siengchin, S. (2023, June 13). Biopolymer-Based Composites from Agricultural Waste Biomass. In Encyclopedia.
T. G., Yashas Gowda, et al. "Biopolymer-Based Composites from Agricultural Waste Biomass." Encyclopedia. Web. 13 June, 2023.
Biopolymer-Based Composites from Agricultural Waste Biomass

Natural fibers are derived from a variety of flora and fauna sources and are utilized in the production of textiles and other commodities. These materials are recognized for their capacity to decompose naturally, their ability to endure over time, and their positive impact on the ecosystem. Fibers derived from agricultural waste biomass pertain to fibers procured from the residual components of crops, including but not limited to straw, stalks, leaves, and husks.

biopolymer-based composites agricultural waste biomass sustainable materials

1. Introduction

Natural fibers are derived from a variety of flora and fauna sources and are utilized in the production of textiles and other commodities. These materials are recognized for their capacity to decompose naturally, their ability to endure over time, and their positive impact on the ecosystem. Cotton, wool, silk, flax, and jute are among the frequently utilized natural fibers. Because of their exceptional qualities, including suppleness, breathability, and longevity, these fibers are ideally suited for usage in a wide range of different applications. Moreover, natural fibers possess the quality of renewability rendering them a more ecologically conscientious alternative. Notwithstanding their benefits, natural fibers may exhibit certain limitations, including susceptibility to light and moisture, as well as reduced tensile strength when compared to synthetic fibers [1][2][3]. In spite of these constraints, the utilization of organic fibers is progressively expanding owing to their favorable ecological influence and widespread acceptance among customers. The term “natural fibers” refers to fibers that have been procured from agricultural biomass, which includes both crop residue and animal fibers, such as wool, silk, chicken feather, and hair. These particular fibers are deemed ecologically sustainable due to their composition from renewable resources and the absence of hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing process. Several natural fibers can be derived from agricultural biomass, such as jute, sisal, coir, bamboo, and hemp [4][5][6]. The described fibers are utilized in the production of various commodities, including but not limited to textiles, rope, mats, and paper. A variety of properties are provided by these materials, including but not limited to high tensile strength, durability, and biodegradability. Moreover, the utilization of these fibers aids in mitigating the surplus generated from agricultural production, rendering it a sustainable and environmentally conscious substitute to synthetic fibers. In general, the utilization of natural fibers derived from agricultural biomass presents a potentially viable approach towards mitigating the ecological ramifications associated with the textile and manufacturing sectors. The utilization of agricultural waste biomass to create biopolymer-based composites is a promising approach to developing composite materials. These composites incorporate plant-derived biopolymers, including starch, cellulose, and proteins, as a means of reinforcing a polymer matrix [7][8]. The fact that these composites are both renewable and biodegradable makes them a more environmentally friendly choice than traditional composites that are based on petroleum. Starch, cellulose acetate, and chitosan are examples of some of the biopolymers that are utilized often. The composites under consideration incorporate agricultural waste biomass, comprising residual materials from crops, including but not limited to straw, stalks, leaves, and husks. The previously mentioned substances possess the potential to undergo processing and subsequent conversion into biopolymers, which are subsequently employed as a means of reinforcing the polymer matrix. When compared to conventional composites, lightweight biopolymer-based composites manufactured from agricultural waste biomass provide various benefits over their more conventional counterparts, including a lower environmental impact, cheaper costs, and superior mechanical qualities. These composites have a wide range of potential uses, including lightweight applications in the automobile industry, the packaging industry, and the construction industry [9]. Because of their lower density and inherent sustainability, they present an intriguing possibility as a means of lowering the carbon footprint left by the industrial sector [10][11]. Further study is required to enhance their capabilities and qualities before they can be considered as a viable option for use in commercial applications. The utilization of agricultural waste biomass in the fabrication of composites represents a sustainable and ecologically sound methodology to produce composite materials. These materials can undergo processing to serve as reinforcement in a polymer matrix. The consumption of agricultural waste biomass as a reinforcement agent in composite materials serves to mitigate the amount of waste produced from agricultural activities, while concurrently diminishing reliance on non-renewable resources. Composites derived from agricultural waste biomass and composed of biopolymers exhibit considerable potential as a means of mitigating the ecological footprint of the composite sector. Composites possess versatile applicability, including but not limited to employment in the automotive industry, packaging sector, and construction materials [12][13][14][15] (refer to Figure 1 [15]). The comparatively lower cost and biodegradable properties of these materials render them an eco-friendlier substitute for conventional composites. Furthermore, making use of these products may result in the emergence of novel commodities and industries, thereby generating economic advantages for agricultural producers and local societies. Nonetheless, the utilization of agricultural waste biomass in composite manufacturing is subject to certain constraints, including inconsistencies in the waste’s quality and accessibility, as well as processing complexities. However, through additional investigation and advancement, the utilization of agricultural waste biomass in the production of composites holds promise in promoting a more ecologically conscious and sustainable future.
Figure 1. Converting biomass to composites [15].

2. Fibers from Agricultural Wastes

Fibers derived from agricultural waste biomass pertain to fibers procured from the residual components of crops, including but not limited to straw, stalks, leaves, and husks. Composites, nonwoven, and biodegradables can all benefit from the use of these fibers as reinforcement thanks to their easy extraction and processing. The use of fibers derived from agricultural waste biomass has environmental advantages, such as the fact that they are renewable and biodegradable. In addition to fostering a more sustainable future, the use of these fibers can help to reduce dependency on finite resources [16][17]. Notwithstanding, the utilization of said fibers is accompanied by certain obstacles, including inconsistencies in the caliber and accessibility of the refuse, alongside processing intricacies. However, through additional investigation and advancement, fibers derived from agricultural waste biomass possess the capability to emerge as a prevalent and significant constituent of a sustainable and eco-friendly prospect. Nonwoven materials and biodegradable goods made from a variety of fibers that may be utilized as reinforcement in composite materials are one way that people are making strides towards a greener tomorrow [18][19][20][21] (refer Figure 2 [19] for different types of agricultural wastes). Figure 3 and Figure 4 [20] showcases density (with percentage of elongation) and mechanical properties [21] of fibers from agricultural wastes, respectively.
Figure 2. Types of agricultural wastes [19].
Figure 3. Density and percentage of elongation of fibers from agricultural wastes [20].
Figure 4. Tensile strength and Young’s modulus of fibers from agricultural wastes [21].

2.1. Rice Straw Fiber

When rice is harvested, a considerable quantity of rice straw is produced as a byproduct. To decrease waste and boost sustainability in the composites, rice straw fibers have become increasingly popular as an additive in recent years. Since rice straw fibers are inexpensive, abundant, and biodegradable, they constitute an excellent material for composites. The incorporation of rice straw fibers as a reinforcing agent in biopolymer composites has been found to enhance their mechanical and thermal characteristics, thereby rendering them more appropriate for diverse applications [22][23][24][25]. Rice-straw-fiber-reinforced composites are being formulated and utilized in diverse fields, such as the automotive industry, construction sector, and packaging industry. Because it creates a product with additional value out of something that was previously thought of as waste, the use of rice straw fiber in composites can also generate economic advantages for local communities and farmers [26]. Notwithstanding, the advancement of composites based on rice straw fiber remains a growing field of inquiry, and there exist various obstacles that require resolution. The challenges encountered in this context pertain to the variability in the quality and accessibility of rice straw fibers, alongside the intricacies involved in processing them. Despite the current limitations, through additional investigation and advancement, the utilization of rice straw fibers in composite applications exhibits promising prospects for a more ecologically conscious and sustainable future [27][28][29].

2.2. Bamboo Fiber

Bamboo fiber is a naturally occurring fiber that is derived from the bamboo plant. As a eco-friendlier and more long-lasting substitute to synthetic fibers, its appeal has risen in recent years. Bamboo fibers are versatile due to their great mechanical strength, high resilience, and ability to absorb and release moisture. The incorporation of bamboo fibers as reinforcement in biopolymer composites has been found to enhance the mechanical characteristics of the composite, thereby rendering it more appropriate for diverse applications. Due to its light weight, low cost, high strength, and rigidity, bamboo fiber is used as reinforcement in polymeric materials. Historically, bamboo has been used to construct dwellings, bridges, and traditional boats [30][31][32]. The utilization of bamboo fiber in composite materials exhibits promising prospects for offering a sustainable and ecologically sound substitute to synthetic fibers. Bamboo-fiber-reinforced composites have the potential to serve as a viable and eco-friendly substitute for conventional construction materials, including wood and concrete. Additionally, they can be utilized to fabricate lightweight and resilient components for the automotive sector, as well as for packaging purposes. Offering an eco-friendly and decomposable substitute for conventional packaging elements, athletic equipment, including skateboards and surfboards [33][34], bamboo fibers possess inherent softness and effective moisture absorption characteristics, rendering them a viable option to produce environmentally sustainable textiles and apparel. Alternatives to conventional composite materials that are more ecologically responsible and sustainable might be made possible by using bamboo fiber in composites. Despite that, additional investigation and advancement are required to completely actualize the potential of bamboo fiber in composite applications [35][36].

2.3. Bagasse

Bagasse refers to the residual fibrous material that remains after the extraction of juice from sugarcane. Nevertheless, additional investigation and advancement are required to completely actualize the potential of bagasse fiber in composite applications. It is a form of biomass that comes from farms and has been investigated as a natural fiber option for composites [37]. Bagasse fiber is a good choice for composites because it has many good qualities. For example, bagasse is a waste of sugarcane processing and is made in large quantities all over the world, making it a cheap and easy-to-obtain source of fiber. Researchers have been able to exploit this biomass for a variety of applications, including energy and environmental sustainability. The low density of bagasse fiber renders it a desirable candidate for reinforcing lightweight composites [38][39][40][41]. Bagasse fiber exhibits favorable mechanical properties, including notable tensile strength, stiffness, and durability, rendering it a viable candidate for use as a reinforcing agent in composite materials. Bagasse fiber exhibits biodegradability and eco-friendliness, rendering it a viable substitute for synthetic fibers in composite applications [42][43][44]. Numerous industries have experimented with bagasse-fiber-reinforced composites, and some of them include construction, packaging, and automobiles. On the other hand, additional research is required before bagasse fiber composites may be used in commercial applications.

2.4. Banana Fiber

Banana fiber is a natural fiber derived from the stem and pseudo-stem of the banana plant. It is a substance that is regarded to be agricultural waste and is generated in vast amounts in many nations, particularly those countries where bananas are farmed for commercial purposes. Banana fiber possesses several noteworthy characteristics and practical uses [45][46]. The tensile strength of banana fiber is noteworthy, and its high moisture resistance renders it appropriate for diverse applications. Additionally, it possesses biodegradable property and is conducive to environmental sustainability. The utilization of banana fiber is observed in the manufacturing of various textile products, including but not limited to fabrics, ropes, and mats. The material in question is recognized for its characteristics of being pliable, long-lasting, and resilient against deterioration [47][48]. The utilization of banana fiber as a reinforcing agent in composite materials has been investigated, including its application in biodegradable plastics, natural rubber composites, and bamboo composites [49]. Composites possess potential utility in scenarios where there is a preference for materials that are both lightweight, such as in the fabrication of automotive components and construction materials. The uses of banana fiber extend beyond its conventional applications, as it can also serve as a viable material in the manufacturing of paper and various other commodities, including but not limited to towels, napkins, and tissues [50][51][52]. The use of banana fiber in different industries offers both academics and businesses a new way to think about how it could be used in the future. The fiber content and qualities of strength are the major issues that affect whether banana fiber can be used for certain purposes [53].

2.5. Kenaf Fibers

The distinctive attributes and qualities of kenaf fibers render them appropriate for diverse applications in the composites and other industrial sectors. Since kenaf can be grown in many different climates and countries, it can help to lessen the world’s reliance on non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels. Kenaf fibers are eco-friendly since they are fully biodegradable. These fibers were once utilized to make fabrics, cords, ropes, storage bags, and boats by the Egyptians. These fibers are at present manufactured as composites with other materials and utilized in automotive, construction, packaging, furniture, textiles, matting, paper pulp, and other applications [54][55][56]. The fibers derived from kenaf exhibit a low density of approximately 1.3 g/cm3, rendering them appropriate for deployment in lightweight applications. The thermal stability of kenaf fibers is noteworthy as they demonstrate resilience against thermal degradation when exposed to elevated temperatures. Because kenaf fibers absorb very little water, they are not easily degraded by exposure to damp conditions [57][58][59][60]. The chemical resilience of kenaf fibers makes them useful in industrial settings where toxic substances are present. Easy to spin into yarns or weave into fabric, kenaf fibers have several potential uses [60].

2.6. Jute Fiber

Jute cultivation is primarily carried out in favorable agro-climatic conditions, predominantly in the Bengal delta region spanning across India and Bangladesh. The crop is harvested upon attaining maturity, which generally takes around 4–5 months. The jute stems that have been collected are subjected to a process called retting, in which they are immersed in water for a prolonged period to facilitate the decomposition of non-fibrous components and to render the fibers more pliable [61][62]. Raw jute fibers are obtained by manually or mechanically stripping the fibers from the stems. The process of scotching is employed on the raw jute fibers to mechanically extract the fibers from any residual non-fibrous components. Subsequently, the jute fibers are subjected to a drying process to eliminate any residual moisture. The retting, stripping, scotching, and drying procedures are used in conjunction with one another in order to remove the jute fibers from the stems of the jute plant. They are processed to remove contaminants and boost mechanical qualities, such as the tensile strength and the Young’s modulus. The potential treatment modalities encompass chemical interventions, such as bleaching, or physical interventions, such as heat treatment [63][64]. Fibers find application in diverse fields, including but not limited to textiles. Jute fiber is utilized in the production of diverse textiles, such as hessian and jute sacking. Jute fiber has been utilized in the production of eco-friendly packaging materials, including bags and sacks that are capable of decomposing naturally [65][66][67]. Reinforcing the structure of building materials, such as cement boards, floor tiles, and non-woven geotextiles, is one of the many applications for jute fiber in the building and construction industry. Due to its ability to provide both acoustic and thermal insulation, jute fiber is frequently utilized in the automobile industry as a reinforcing material in components, such as door panels and trunk liners [67].

2.7. Hemp Fiber

Hemp fiber composites are materials in which the matrix is made of synthetic or biodegradable polymers, with hemp fibers acting as the main reinforcement component. Due to their excellent mechanical properties, including high tensile strength and Young’s modulus as well as notable stability, synthetic polymers such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), have received extensive research as matrices for hemp fiber composites [67][68]. These materials are not eco-sustainable due to the fact that they are not biodegradable. On the other hand, due to their promising outcomes in terms of mechanical characteristics, biodegradability, and sustainability in recent years, starch-based polymers have attracted substantial attention as a biodegradable matrix for hemp fiber composites. The addition of hemp fibers as reinforcement has further improved these composites’ properties, making them suitable for a variety of uses in the automotive, construction, and packaging industries [69]. It should be emphasized that the biodegradability of hemp fibers is favorable in biodegradable matrixes, but not in matrixes from petroleum-based polymers, when comparing the characteristics and economy of utilizing hemp and conventional fibers as fillers for petroleum-based polymers. Therefore, when reinforced with hemp fibers, it is important to compare the mechanical characteristics, biodegradability, and sustainability of biodegradable matrixes, such as starch-based polymers and petroleum-based polymers [70][71]. The choice of a practical biopolymer matrix for composites made of hemp fibers depends on the application and the desired balance between effectiveness and environmental effects. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), cellulose-based polymers, and polylactic acid (PLA) are a few examples of biopolymer matrices for hemp fiber composites. These biopolymer matrices have respectable mechanical characteristics and outstanding biodegradability and sustainability [72]. Regardless of the type of matrix used, whether it be synthetic or biodegradable polymers, hemp fiber composites display desirable mechanical characteristics and stability. Biodegradable matrixes, such as starch-based polymers or biopolymers, are more environmentally benign and better suited for usage where the final product will be discarded when taking the ecological effects of the composite into account.

2.8. Sisal Fiber

The sisal plant, known for its ability to withstand drought, is cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas, with a primary focus on nations such as Brazil, Tanzania, and Kenya. Sisal plants are typically propagated using cuttings or tissue culture techniques. Once established, these plants undergo a growth period of roughly 2–3 years, during which they attain maturity and become suitable for harvesting. The manual harvesting of sisal leaves typically occurs at intervals of 9–12 months [73][74][75]. The process of obtaining sisal fibers involves a sequence of procedures, such as stripping off the leaves, purification, and desiccation. The process of retting involves immersing the fibers in water to facilitate their decomposition and subsequent separation from the leaf pith. The process of retting plays a crucial role in the extraction of sisal fibers, as it effectively segregates the fibers from the pith and any other non-fibrous constituents. Retting is a process that can be carried out through the utilization of various agents, such as fresh water, seawater, or chemical substances. As a biopolymer, sisal fiber has several potential applications. The mechanical characteristics of bio-composites made from sisal fiber and biodegradable polymers, such as polylactic acid (PLA) or starch, can be significantly enhanced [76][77]. Geotextiles can be reinforced with sisal fibers to enhance their strength and durability. Sisal fibers have the potential to serve as a viable source to produce biodegradable packaging materials, including but not limited to bags and sacks. Sisal fibers possess favorable sound and thermal insulation characteristics, rendering them suitable for deployment as reinforcement in automotive components, including door panels and trunk liners. Sisal fibers have been identified as a viable option for reinforcing automotive components, including door panels and trunk liners, owing to their favorable sound and thermal insulation characteristics [78][79].

2.9. Abaca Fiber

Abaca fiber composites refer to composite materials that utilize abaca fibers as a reinforcing agent, in conjunction with a polymer matrix. Several advantages can be gained by using abaca fibers into composites. An eco-friendly substitute for conventional fiber reinforcements, such as glass and carbon fibers, abaca is a renewable material farmed mostly in the Philippines. Because of their great tensile strength, abaca fibers are ideally suited for usage in high-strength composites in fields such as structural engineering [80]. The chemical resistance of abaca fibers has been demonstrated, rendering them appropriate for utilization in scenarios where chemical exposure is a potential issue. The biodegradability of abaca fibers renders them a viable alternative for use in scenarios where the eventual disposal of the product is necessary. Since abaca fibers seem natural, they are a good choice for uses where visual appeal is paramount, such as in the automobile and interior design sectors [81][82][83]. Abaca fiber composites have several advantages over composites created from other materials, but their manufacturing is hindered by the high cost of production and the scarcity of good-quality abaca fibers. New methods of abaca fiber extraction and processing are at present being developed to address this issue, with the hopes of increasing the supply of high-quality fibers while decreasing manufacturing costs [84].

3. Composition of the Natural Fibers from Agricultural Waste Biomass

Agricultural waste biomass consists of plant matter that has been harvested but is otherwise destined for disposal as a byproduct of farming. Natural fibers extracted from biomass waste generated in agriculture might differ substantially in composition. However, typically, these components comprise the following. Cellulose constitutes the primary constituent of most natural fibers, comprising approximately 30–50% of fiber. The strength and stiffness of the fiber is attributed to the presence of cellulose [85][86]. Hemicellulose constitutes approximately 10–30% of the fiber and imparts elasticity to it. Lignin, a constituent of plant cell walls, constitutes a significant proportion of the fiber ranging from 10–30% and confers hydrophobic properties to the fiber. Pectin is a constituent of dietary fiber that plays a minor role in the structural integrity of fibers by promoting their cohesion. Waxes and oils are minor constituents that offer hydrophobic characteristics to the fiber [84][86]. The composition of this constituent comprises minerals and other inorganic substances, and its proportion in the fiber varies based on the origin of the agricultural waste biomass. Agricultural waste biomass may comprise impurities, such as dirt and sand, which have the potential to impact the mechanical and physical characteristics of the fibers. Natural fibers extracted from biowaste can have a wide range of compositions depending on the species, growing circumstances, and processing methods employed. Because of how this variance might alter the fibers’ mechanical and physical characteristics, it is crucial to precisely regulate the composition of these fibers for targeted uses [87][88]. Agricultural waste biomass has the potential to be employed as a reinforcing element in polymer composites, which would result in the production of ecologically benign and sustainable composite materials. However, there are a number of obstacles to overcome when using waste biomass from agriculture as reinforcement in polymer composites, including compositional, structural, and property variation in agricultural waste biomass, which makes it challenging to manufacture uniform composite materials [88]. The processing of agricultural waste biomass may pose difficulties owing to its variability, thereby presenting challenges in the production of fibers and composites of superior quality. It is challenging to create composites with desirable mechanical and physical characteristics due to the incompatibility of agricultural waste biomass with the polymer matrix. Competitiveness is hindered by the fact that biomass from agricultural waste is sometimes more expensive than more conventional fiber reinforcements, such as glass and carbon fibers [85][87][88][89]. Research is continuing to find ways to improve the compatibility of agricultural waste biomass with polymer matrices, lower manufacturing costs, and address these other issues. Polymer composites that include agricultural waste biomass as reinforcement may also have positive effects on the environment, making them a desirable choice for eco-conscious customers and industries [89]. Figure 5 [90] reflects on the composition of the natural fibers from agricultural waste biomass.
Figure 5. Composition of the natural fibers from agricultural waste biomass [90].


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