Department of Chemistry, National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, Punjab, 144011
Modification of natural polymers like protein by graft co-polymerization is an important method to incorporate the desired properties into the backbone. Soy protein concentrate (SPC) was grafted with ethylmethacrylate (EMA) using ascorbic acid /potassium persulphate as redox initiator system under pressure. Different reaction parameters such as reaction time, reaction pressure, solvent amount, initiator ratio, pH and monomer concentration were optimized to get maximum graft yield (59.5%). The optimized reaction conditions were: reaction time; 150 min, reaction pressure; 7.5 psi, solvent; 150ml, AAc: KPS; 1:1.25, pH; 8, [EMA]; 1.99 X 10-3 Mol L-1. The graft copolymer formed was characterized by FTIR, XRD and SEM techniques. The grafted protein was found to undergo physico-chemical changes on incorporation of polymer chains onto backbone through graft copolymerization which resulted in enhanced resistance towards moisture absorbance and acid-base attack. Thermal analysis showed higher final decomposition temperature of grafted protein as compared to that of ungrafted backbone.