# Would the mixture of Latex Rubber and the Squid's chitin make a biodegradable plastic?

I don't know much of Chemistry but I put the chemical structures of each. Thank you!

• Could you provide more background? How would you combine the two polymers? – Buck Thorn Jun 30 '19 at 9:19
• Background would mean: What is the inspiration behind the combination? What drives you to ask this? – William R. Ebenezer Jun 30 '19 at 17:21

The wikipedia does a good job of explaining the concept of biodegradation:

In practice, almost all chemical compounds and materials are subject to biodegradation processes. The significance, however, is in the relative rates of such processes, such as days, weeks, years or centuries.

Saying that something is "biodegradable" is not very informative unless you know what standard rate is being used to define something as "biodegradable".

Also, often people convolute the following two concepts when referring to something as biodegradable:

• the origin of a material
• the ease (or rate of decay) with which something decays, ultimately by the action of organisms

The two materials (chitin and latex) you want to combine are natural products (well, natural rubber latex is, latex need not be) and biodegradable according to the broad definition of the concept. However they degrade at different rates, with chitin degrading more quickly compared to natural rubber (see e.g. the references below).

Perhaps your question regards what kind of biodegradation rate can be expected for a composite prepared by combining chitin with natural rubber latex. This is difficult to answer generally as much depends on the microstructure of the composite, but I would expect exposed chitin to decay rather rapidly whereas the latex would decay at a much slower rate.

References

1. Karsten Rose and Alexander Steinbüchel. Biodegradation of Natural Rubber and Related Compounds: Recent Insights into a Hardly Understood Catabolic Capability of Microorganisms. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Jun; 71(6): 2803–2812. doi: 10.1128/AEM.71.6.2803-2812.2005

2. Sara Beier and Stefan Bertilsson. Bacterial chitin degradation—mechanisms and ecophysiological strategies. Front Microbiol. 2013; 4: 149. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00149