Prions have been identified as the infection source for bovine spongiform encephalopathy or ‘mad cow disease’. Safety concerns relating to this disease have led to strict feed regulations for specified risk materials (SRMs) in North America, which are characterized as the tissues in cattle where prions are likely to concentrate. As one of the approved SRM disposal methods, thermal hydrolysis converts proteinaceous materials, including prions into non-infective peptides, which have been examined for incorporation into a variety of value-added applications. Here, we describe the bio-conversion of SRM-derived peptides into tackifiers for hydro-mulch applications. Tackifiers are employed in erosion control strategies and help to bind seed and mulch to eroded areas to promote the restoration of vegetation. In this study, epoxidized poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) was synthesized and employed for cross-linking of SRM-derived peptides. The reaction conditions and the molar ratio of the reagents applied for the cross-linking reaction were shown to have significant effects on cross-linking behaviour. Furthermore, SRM-derived peptides that were modified with epoxidized PVA displayed viscosity, binding, and moisture maintaining capacity that were comparable to commercially available tackifiers. Hence, this research further strengthens the argument for using SRM-derived peptides as feedstock for sustainable tackifiers development.
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