Bioplastics created at I.S.U. A research team from Iowa State University that’s making plastics from agriculture products will have an exhibit at a showcase in Chicago later this month.

 The 2009 International Plastics Exposition , scheduled June 22nd through the 26th, will include plastics professionals from 120 countries and displays from nearly 2,000 companies.

Mike Kessler is an I.S.U. assistant professor of materials science and engineering and is part of the team that’s developing plastics, composites, adhesives and more from biorenewable materials. He says their exhibit will include flower pots made from corn and soy protein. "A neat thing about those is that they’re biodegradable," Kessler said. "So, you could plant the plant in the pot right in the ground and it would degrade and actually fertilize the plant as it’s growing."

In addition to Kessler, the I.S.U. Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team includes faculty members in natural resource ecology and management, chemistry, agricultural and biosystems engineering and architecture and design. Kessler says the products being developed on the Ames campus could create jobs in Iowa and benefit the environment.

"Plastics are now made from primarily petroleum feedstock and that’s not an unlimited resource," Kessler explained. "As a society, as we move forward in the next 20 to 30 years, that’s going to become even more and more important." The Expo in Chicago will provide the I.S.U. team with a chance to not only showcase their work, but network with like-minded companies and investors.

"That’s one of our personal goals…to make some of those contacts to showcase our materials, with the hope of finding some applications for the materials," Kessler said.