One of Toyota's major future projects is to make biodegradable plastic from sweet potatoes, sugar cane and corn. Unlike conventional plastics, which are petroleum-based, this poly lactic acid "bioplastic" breaks down naturally without posing a disposal problem. Poly lactic acid (PLA) is created by sugar fermentation. Patents obtained from Shimadzu Corporation will be applied in addition to Toyota's original technologies. Using sweet potatoes, Toyota looks forward to cost-efficient manufacturing of PLA plastic for a wide range of applications, from electric appliances and household items to motor vehicle components. Toyota's ES3 concept vehicle shown at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show featured parts made of this environmentally friendly "sweet potato plastic."