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Research Article
Drinking Straw from Coconut Leaf: A Study of its Epicuticular Wax Content and Phenol Extrusion Properties

Jyoti Jeena James, Dylan D. Silva, Saji Varghese, Jobi Xavier and Kuppusamy Alagesan Paari

Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, 2019, 18(3), 139-147.

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Plastics are a ubiquitous part of our daily life but now posing a major threat to marine life, animal and human health. More than 50% of the manufactured plastic including straws are being disposed of after single-use. There is an increasing need to mitigate this trend so that the damage could be brought under control. The aim of this research was to develop a compostable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws using the leaves of Cocos nucifera L. Materials and Methods: The biochemical properties of 6 varieties of Cocos nucifera L. leaflets were studied in order to screen the most suitable material for making sustainable straws. Epicuticular wax content was analyzed to choose the best variety for preparation of hydrophobic straws. Total antioxidant activity, total tannin content, phenolic and flavonoid content were assayed to evaluate the potential functionality of the leaflets. The phenol extrusion properties of the material were also checked in acidic and normal beverages. Results: Estimation of epicuticular wax and phytochemical analysis in all 6 varieties revealed that all varieties of Cocos nucifera L. leaves provide a potent biomaterial for straw preparation. Silicon 732 was found to be a good adhesive agent for straw preparation. Phenol extrusion assays revealed that there is a negligible difference in the release of phytochemicals before and after dipping of straws in the beverages. Conclusion: The outcome of this research opens up vistas to carry out further research in a hitherto unexplored area of utilizing the leaf of Cocos nucifera in a novel way with far reaching economic and employment implications.

ASCI-ID: 7-1803

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