Soy-based wood adhesives should replace the currently used petroleum-based glues in the production of plywood and other woods products, thus avoiding the leaching toxic formaldehyde fumes.
Everybody knows what tofu is, and if not, here is a simple explanation: tofu is a food of Chinese origin, made by coagulating soy milk, and then pressing the resulting curds into blocks, just like cheese is made out of milk.
To get back to the story, researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory, are working on a new kind of soy-based wood adhesives, that use a compound found in soy milk and tofu.
This new glue should replace the toxic petroleum-based adhesives that are currently being used, Clean Technica reports.
This soy glue research is part of a global trend, of developing products that are more natural, less chemical and toxic, and it is not only because of environmental conscience.
The actual reason behind the ecologic side of the industry is that the oil market is not very stable, and , in this case, composite wood manufacturers are searching for a more reliable source of wood glue.
Bio-based adhesives could eventually be used for many things, not just plywood and other furniture and building components.
A good example is a researcher at Kansas State University that has developed an edible cattle feed barrel, made out of straw and soy glue, and farmers are actually saving a lot of money on cleaning and shipping conventional feed barrels.
This also shows that there are a few soy-based wood adhesives already on the market that have he same performances as the petroleum-based glues, but the goal of the team at the USDA is to develop soy-based glues that are much stronger than the commonly used ones.
The global market has been invaded lately by soy products, but they are just one of the potential sources of bio-glues.
The Kansas State team also has research in byproducts from corn, sorghum and other biofuel crops to make adhesives, and scientists at the University of Oregon have been developing ecologic adhesive tapes out of bio-based adhesives made from soy and other vegetable oils.