EDMONTON—One industry’s trash is another researcher’s treasure.
For canola oil producers, the straw is the most useless part, often left behind when harvesting canola. But Marleny Saldaña, a researcher in food and bioengineering processing at the University of Alberta, has created a new use for the leftover fibrous stalk, and that is cling wrap, more popularly known in the kitchen as Saran wrap.
“Canola is big in Canada, mainly in Alberta. We produce tons of canola,” she said. “We find that we are opening up a new use for residue that has no value until now.”
Saldaña said she noticed that the straw is mostly composed of cellulose and lignin, components that give tensile strength. She used the cellulose nanofibres found in the straw to make the see-through, plastic-like film.