One severe weakness of most biopolymers, in terms of their use as packaging materials, is their relatively high solubility in water. The addition of kraft lignin to starch coating formulations has been shown to reduce the water solubility of starch in dry coatings. However, lignin may also migrate into aqueous solutions. For this paper, kraft lignin isolated using the LignoBoost process was used in order to examine the effect of pH level on the solubility of lignin with and without ammonium zirconium carbonate (AZC). Machine-glazed (MG) paper was coated in a pilot coating machine, with the moving substrate at high speed, and laboratory-coated samples were used as a reference when measuring defects (number of pinholes). Kraft lignin became soluble in water at lower pH levels when starch was added to the solution, due to the interactions between starch and lignin. This made it possible to lower the pH of the coating solutions, resulting in increased water stability of the dry samples; that is, the migration of lignin to the model liquids decreased when the pH of the coating solutions was reduced. No significant difference was observed in the water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) between high and low pH for the pilot-coated samples. The addition of AZC to the formulation reduced the migration of lignin from the coatings to the model liquids and led to an increase in the water contact angle, but also increased the number of pinholes in the pilot-coated samples.
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