Preparation of Green and Degradable Seaweed-Based Straws by Directional Diffusion Assembly as a Plastic Substitute

Yuanpu Liu, Ting Wei, Wenxin Xie, Yajie Yuan, Yanfei Wang, Yang Qin, Meng Ma, Qingjie Sun, Man Li, Fengwei Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)


The extensive and persistent utilization of disposable plastic straws by humans has engendered significant environmental issues. However, it is challenging to find suitable substitutes for plastic straws with comparable properties. Here, we propose a versatile design of all-natural, degradable straws as a plastic substitute, using a directional diffusion assembly (DDA) method, which controls the directional diffusion of a cross-linker for subsequent cross-linking, without the constraints of rolling-up, extrusion, and injection molding techniques. Employing the DDA method on alginate, the seaweed-based straws prepared exhibited excellent hygrostability, especially in hot water, better than commercial paper and PLA straws. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) spectrum demonstrated the high cross-linking between alginate and Ca2+ after resoaking. Moreover, they displayed natural degradability (within 180 days, indicated by the significant changes in residual weight, molecular weight, and microstructure) and high mechanical properties, including bending resistance (∼14 MPa) and tensile strength (∼80 MPa). Considering these advantages, the seaweed-based straws developed in this work hold significant promise as substitutes for petroleum-based plastic products like straws.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16310-16321
Number of pages12
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number45
Early online date31 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2023


  • biodegradable straw
  • directional diffusion assembly
  • plastic substitute
  • seaweed
  • supramolecular assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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