Biodegradable Starch Packing Peanuts


What Does Biodegradable Mean?

This book has information and experiments about ecology.

Ecology is the is the study of the behavior of living things in their natural surroundings and how they affect each other.

Biodegradable substances are generally organic, which means they are alive or were alive, such as plants and animals, substances originating from living organisms, or artificial materials that are similar enough to plant and animal matter to be digested by organic organisms, including worms and microorganisms.
Starch Packing Peanuts are an example of a  biodegradable product.

How To Use The Following Video

Instructions: Kids are to watch the video to answer the following.
1. What happens to the starch peanuts when they are held in water? (It looks like they are shrinking, but actually they are dissolving in the water.)
2. If you didn’t know what was going to happen, holding the starch peanut with your hands might not be safe. What would be a better method of doing this experiment? (There are many correct answer and all involve not touching the peanut with your hands. Examples: Drop the peanut into the water, place the peanut in a container and pour water on it, etc….)
3. The video is very interesting, but something is wrong. Listen carefully and you will hear the answer. (The kids are not involved, they are playing in the background.)

More Fun With Starch Peanuts

1. In small bowl, add about 1/4 cup of tap water.

2. Add one packing noodle at a time–stir to see what happens. (If you have any of the other types of packing noodles–test them in a separate bowl). For fun: How many will dissolve?

Results: The starch noodles dissolve in the water forming a Solution.

Solute (starch peanuts) + Solvent (water) = Solution (starch and water mixture)

Test for Starch

1. You need two bowls, one with the starch solution in it and the second with only tap water.

2. Add one drop of tincture of iodine to each of the bowls. Swirl or stir to mix. (The milky starch solution turns to a very dark blue-black color.The water has an amber color–same as the iodine.)


If you get iodine on your skin and want to remove the stain–use a cotton swap dampened with a solution of  dechlor used to remove chlorine in the water for fish. Rub the wet cotton over the stain. Voila” it should be gone.
Why? The chemical in dechlor is sodium thiosulfate which reacts with the iodine in tincture of iodine. The reaction changes the colored iodine to a colorless form.