Australian Teen Develops Method to Turn Prawn Shells Into Bioplastic

By Mandy Froelich / Truth Theory

Amidst the constant Covid-19 updates, it’s heartening to learn of positive happenings that are brightening this world. One novel development, in particular, was discovered by a 17-year-old Australian inventor.

Over dinner one night, Angelina Arora pondered: “Prawn shells look like plastic.” The ‘Eureka!’ moment came after a long, hard day of researching alternative solutions to plastic. Attempts with a banana peel solution and corn starch, unfortunately, proved fruitless. “That was when I realized that that dinner could have been my Eureka moment,” Arora told news.com.au.

Before long, the teen inventor developed a method to create a bioplastic from prawn shells that completely degrades within about 33 days in a landfill. According to Arora, the material is flexible, insoluble, and transparent. Furthermore, it has received very positive responses from manufacturers and potential investors.

“I’m still finalizing the legal aspects like patenting for example, however I am at the stage where I have produced a final prototype and would be ready to manufacture the plastic to distribute it commercially,” explained Arora. 

“Furthermore, like many other seafood waste products like oyster shells, prawn exoskeletons are rich in nitrogen – the most important ingredient in plant fertilizers. This makes her material especially useful to farmers and agriculturalists, as it would degrade quite normally in fields or compost pits, while providing their crops with the nitrogen needed to maximize plant nutrients and immunity.”

According GoodNewsNetwork, the applaud-worthy invention earned the teen the BHP Science and Engineering Award. In 2019, she was named the Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year.

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Image credits: Poramet Thathong  & Angelina Arora

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