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The use of untreated natural rubber latex for the production of dipped goods has suffered a major setback due to numerous complaints of allergy traced to inherent protein content, a number of conventional treatment substances have been reported such as urea, papain and bromelain. The challenges in the use of these substances range from the cost to environmental problems. The use of coconut water being a natural product as a potential deproteinizing agent in natural rubber latex has therefore been investigated. Amount of coconut water ranging from 0.0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 and 1.0 % v/v in 1% ammonia preserved latex were analysed. The results obtained showed that coconut water has potential for use as deproteinizing agent as they were reductions in protein content (%) for all samples except for 0.2 and 0.3 v/v which remained indifferent. The most efficient formulation gave a value of 48% reduction in protein content corresponding to 0.5% v/v coconut water in latex. These result suggest that coconut water when properly applied to latex can reduce the protein content by a mechanism suspected to be mechano-chemical arising from centrifugation and enzymatic hydrolysis
Title page I
Tables of Contents V
List of Tables VIII
List of Figures IX
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Natural Rubber Latex 2
1.3 General Properties of Natural Rubber Latex 3
1.4 Application of Natural Rubber Latex 5
1.5 Protein in Natural Rubber Latex 5
1.5.1 Protein on the Surface of the Rubber Particle 6
1.5.2 Protein in the C-Serum 6
1.5.3 Protein in the Bottom Fraction 6
1.6 Deproteinization of Natural Rubber Latex 7
1.7 Comparative Composition of Natural Rubber Latex 10
1.8 Latex Coagulation 10
1.9 Latex allergies 11
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Effect of Deproteinized Methods on the Proteins 12
2.2 Preparation of Deproteinized Natural Rubber Latex and Properties of Films Formed 12
2.3 Deproteinization of Natural Rubber Using Protease Immobilized on Epichlorohydrin Cross-linked Chitosan 13
2.4 Removal of Proteins from Natural Rubber Using Urea 13
2.5 Stability and vulcanization characteristics of enzyme deproteinized natural rubber latex 14
2.6 Review on Previous Deproteinization Techniques used in Natural Rubber Latex 14
2.7 Scope of Present Study 15
CHAPTER THREE: MATERIALS AND METHODS
3.1 Collection of the Sample 17
3.2 Materials 17
3.2.2 Apparatus and Equipment 17
3.2.3 Chemicals 18
3.3 Methodology 18
3.4 Characterization of Natural Rubber Latex 19
3.4.2 pH Analysis 19
3.4.3 Dry Rubber Content (%) 19
3.4.4 Total Solid Content (%) 20
3.5 General Formulation of the Deproteinizing Agent 21
3.6 Deproteinization of Natural Rubber Latex 21
3.7 Nitrogen Analysis 22
CHAPTER FOUR: RESULT AND DISCUSSIONS
4.1 Protein Content (%) 25
4.2 Conclusion 28
4.3 Recommendation 28
List of Tables
Table 1.1: Composition of NR Latex in Emulsion and Dry Forms 9
Table 3.1: General Formulation of the Deproteinizing Agent 21
Table 4.1: Characterization of 1% Ammonia Preserved Latex 24
Table 4.2: Protein Analysis on Deproteinized Natural Rubber 26
List of Figures
Figure 1.0: Rubber Tapped in Malaysia 8
Figure 1.1: Rubber Plantation 8
Figure 1.2: Chemical Structure of Natural Rubber 8
Figure 4.1: Mass after Drying 25
Figure 4.2: Mass before Drying 25
Figure 4.3: A plot of Protein Content against Concentration of Deproteinizing 27
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc as initially produced, consists of polymers of the organic compound isoprene, with minor impurities of other organic compounds, and water. Malaysia and Indonesia are two of the leading rubber producers in the world. Forms of polyisoprene that are used as natural rubbers are classified as elastomers. Natural rubber has characteristic properties such as large enlongation, high elasticity, high tensile strength and tear strength and satisfactory coating film strength. Natural rubber is utilized in wide variety of products including household materials such as gloves for surgeries and contraceptives. Rubber is harvested mainly in the form of the latex from the rubber tree. Raw rubber comes from the field or plantation in two basic forms: field latex and field coagula.
Natural Rubber Latex contains a small amount of non-rubbers, which include a variety of protein and which have played a role in the biosynthesis and stabilization of rubber latex within the vessels of the tree. The latex of Hevea brasiliensis is a complex colloidal dispersion of biochemical components consisting of polyisoprene latex rubber particles and non-rubber components in an aqueous serum phase. Some adverse effects of these non-rubbers are well documented. These non-rubbers continue to play a role in the subsequent processing behavior of the Natural Rubber Latex, its long-term stability, and catalyzing crosslinking reactions through free radical and ionic mechanisms resulting in covalent bonds. The protein sheath, which may be amphoteric in nature, around the latex particle is conjectured to facilitate the movement of curatives, usually carbon-, sulfur-, and nitrogen-containing materials, into the latex particles by providing an intermediate transport mechanism from the water phase to the rubber phase. The removal of the non-rubbers in treated Natural Rubber Latex slows down the maturation process, hence translating into a longer “pot life.”
Rubber is used as raw material in many products today, which can be divided into two main types, i.e. natural and synthetic rubber. Raw natural rubber involves processing fresh latex or field coagula obtained by cutting the rubber tree, into a raw material ready for use in making rubber products further on. Raw materials in the natural rubber industry consist of fresh (field) latex, obtained by cutting rubber trees, and field coagula, which include cup coagula, cup lump, tree lace, bark scraps, earth scraps and smoked sheet cuttings, etc.
1.1 NATURAL RUBBER LATEX
The latex is a sticky, milky colloid drawn off by making incisions in the bark and collecting the fluid in vessels in a process called “tapping”. The latex then is refined into rubber ready for commercial processing. In major areas, latex is allowed to coagulate in the collection cup. The coagulated lumps are collected and processed into dry forms for marketing. There are different rubbers such as Hevea brasilienisis, congo rubber, dandelion e.t.c.
Latex is the polymer cis-1, 4-polyisoprene with a molecular weight of 100,000 to 1,000,000 daltons. Typically, a small percentage (up to 5% of dry mass) of other materials, such as proteins, fatty acids, resins, and inorganic materials (salts) are found in natural rubber. Polyisoprene can also be created synthetically, producing what is sometimes referred to as “synthetic natural rubber”. Natural rubber is an elastomer and a thermoplastic, but as rubber is vulcanized, it turns into a thermoset. Most rubber in everyday use is vulcanized to a point where it shares properties of both; i.e., if it is heated and cooled, it is degraded but not destroyed. Naturally coagulated rubber (cup lump) is used in the manufacture of TSR10 and TSR20 grade rubbers. Processing of these grades is a size reduction and cleaning process to remove contamination and prepare the material for the final stage of drying. The dried material is then baled and palletized for storage and shipment (Hosler et al.,1999).
1.2 PRODUCTION OF NATURAL RUBBER LATEX
Rubber tree is an important industrial crop for natural rubber production. Latex comes from the Hevea brasiliensis tree, which grow in tropical regions. They typically reach 20-30 meters in height in the rubber plantations, and are able to produce commercial quantities of latex at about 7 years of age, depending on climate and location. Hevea latex is collected through tapping of trees in the natural forest.
1.3 GENERAL PROPERTIES OF NATURAL RUBBER LATEX
Rubber exhibits unique physical and chemical properties. Some of the properties are stated below:
The electrical insulating properties of pure rubber are inferior to those of vulcanized rubbers (Leonid Viktorovich, 2009)
1.4 APPLICATIONS OF NATURAL RUBBER LATEX
Because of their electrical resistance, soft rubber goods are used as insulation and for protective gloves, shoes and blankets; hard rubber is used for articles such as telephone housings, parts for radio sets, meters and other electrical instrument (Leonid Viktorovich, 2009).
1.5 PROTEIN IN NATURAL RUBBER LATEX
The total protein content in latex has been estimated to be about 2-3%, however, discrepancies in the distribution of the proteins between the major phases of latex exist. Report shows that 20% of the total proteins were absorbed on the rubber surface, 66% in the C-serum and 14% in the bottom fraction.
1.5.1 Proteins on the surface of the rubber particle
The existence of proteins in association with phospholipids on the surface of rubber particles was recognized as early as 1953 by Bowler. The attributed that this protein phospholipid layer imparted a net negative charge to the colloidal stability of these particles. By measuring the iso-electric points of various latex samples, he concluded that there was more than one protein adsorbed on the rubber surface and that the relative proportion of the adsorbed proteins varied with clones.
1.5.2 Protein in the C-serum
Nearly half of the enzymes examined in natural rubber latex glycolytic appeared to be located in the C-serum of latex. These include enzymes for the pathway as well as many of the enzymes for rubber biosynthesis. The first protein to be isolated from natural rubber latex was from C-serum and it was named α-globulin.
1.5.3 Protein in the bottom fraction
Proteins in the bottom fraction are essentially studied as the soluble proteins in B-serum. These have been examined with various techniques, including paper electrophoresis, starch gel electrophoresis etc. (Ferreira et al., 2009).
1.6 DEPROTEINIZATION OF NATURAL RUBBER LATEX
Denaturation helps in protein reduction and removal of undesirable residual protein, and there are several ways of doing this which would be reviewed here. The different methods include saponification, surfactant washing and enzymatic treatment.
The cleavage of proteins in NR latex was found to proceed with concomitant formation of low molecular weight polypeptides. This results in lowering gel formation of the enzyme-treated latex, indicating modification of the remaining proteins at the rubber chain-end. Washing NR latex with surfactant would efficiently reduce and remove proteins from NR latex particles through denaturation and transferring them to the serum phase. The relatively stable gel formed during storage of surfactant-washed NR latex is an indication of the absence of branch formation of proteins at the rubber molecule terminal. Saponification by strong alkali would hydrolyze the proteins and phospholipids adsorbed on the latex particle surface. The reason of the significantly higher gel formed in saponified NR latex is still not clear. The present study shows that deproteinization treatments result in modification of the proteins at the surface of NR latex particles and also those freely-suspended in the serum. The cleavage or the denaturation of the rubber proteins during purification by washing has a profound effect on the properties of the deproteinized NR latex upon storage, in particular the thermal oxidative aging properties of the rubber obtained.
Fig 1.0 Rubber tapped in Malaysia
fig 1.1 Rubber Plantation
Fig 1.2 (a) Chemical structure of NR [cis-1, 4-poly (isoprene)], where the chemical
Structure of isoprene is 2-methyl-1, 3-butadiene and (b) NR latex from a Hevea tree on a rubber estate, Malaysia
Table 1.1 Compositions of NR latex in emulsion and dry forms.
|NR latex||Total solid content
Dry rubber content
Inorganic salts (mainly K, P and Mg)
|Dry NR||Rubber content
Cu and Mg
|Deproteinized dry NR||Rubber content
Volatile matter content
1.7 COMPARATIVE COMPOSITION OF NATURAL RUBBER LATEX
The typical compositions of NR latex, dry NR and deproteinized dry NR (DPNR) are tabulated in Table 1.1. DPNR latex is a premier NR latex, treated with special enzymes or complexed with other chemicals to break down the naturally-occurring proteins. DPNR has improved resistance to fatigue failure for Engineering Applications. They are important in the manufacture of dipped goods for medical applications.
1.8 LATEX COAGULATION
The objective of coagulation is to separate the serum (liquid phase in latex) and the coagulum as completely as possible. The development of coagulum can be induced by the addition of acid. Natural rubber latex coagulation is achieved by neutralizing the negative charges on the rubber particles so that they coalesce. In the coagulation procedure the solid rubber is separated from the serum fractions.
Coagulation is the process by which a liquid is changed to a thickened, cordlike, insoluble state by chemical reaction. The natural coagulation may also result from enzyme activities from Hevea latex and from contaminating microorganisms or microbial metabolism in latex. The normal latex coagulation methods are acid coagulation and assisted biological coagulation.
Normal coagulation is carried out by acidifying latex from approximately neutral (pH of about 7), to pH 5.4. Inorganic acids are used for coagulating skim rubber, but they tend to be too aggressive for coagulating field latex and they leave residues that quickly corrode processing machinery. In practice, formic acid is preferred for normal coagulation but acetic acid is also used, along with formic acid. Excellent separation with virtually no rubber left in the serum can be achieved simply by properly adjusting the pH.
Assisted biological coagulation is a process that can be carried out by auto coagulation without the addition of acid. Auto-coagulation is not widely used,
However, for various reasons:
(i) the rubber produced by auto-coagulation is inferior in certain characteristics and often has offensive smell.
(ii) coagulation takes about 48 hours, much longer than with acid coagulation,
(iii) rubber recovery is often incomplete. Some of these disadvantages have been overcome by Assisted Biological Coagulation, (ABC). ABC is a process developed by RRIM, in which the microbiological production of acid is accelerated by adding sugar.
1.9 LATEX ALLERGIES
A latex allergy is a reaction to products made from natural rubber latex, whereby the allergy-causing particles become attached to the cornstarch powder in gloves, swimming caps and balloons with moisture from the skin enhancing the process. The particles can become airborne and inhaled when products are used. With some individuals reacting to this particles. Milk protein is sometimes mixed with latex in surgical and household gloves and this can be the cause of reactions in milk allergic individuals (Aprem et al., 2002).
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