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Open AccessArticle

Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Bacterial Cellulose for the Production of Nanocrystals for the Food Packaging Industry

1
DeFENS, Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences, University of Milan, via Celoria 2, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Department of Materials Science, University of Milano Bicocca, via Cozzi 55, 20125 Milan, Italy
3
INSTM, National Consortium of Materials Science and Technology, Local Unit University of Milan, via Celoria 2, 20133 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(4), 735; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10040735
Received: 12 March 2020 / Revised: 30 March 2020 / Accepted: 9 April 2020 / Published: 11 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Nanocellulose in the Industry)
Bacterial cellulose nanocrystals (BCNCs) obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis have been loaded in pullulan biopolymer for use as nanoparticles in the generation of high-oxygen barrier coatings intended for food packaging applications. Bacterial cellulose (BC) produced by Komagataeibacter sucrofermentans was hydrolyzed by two different enzymatic treatments, i.e., using endo-1,4-β-glucanases (EGs) from Thermobifida halotolerans and cellulase from Trichoderma reesei. The hydrolytic activity was compared by means of turbidity experiments over a period of 145 h, whereas BCNCs in their final state were compared, in terms of size and morphology, by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS). Though both treatments led to particles of similar size, a greater amount of nano-sized particles (≈250 nm) were observed in the system that also included cellulase enzymes. Unexpectedly, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that cellulose nanoparticles were round-shaped and made of 4–5 short (150–180 nm) piled whiskers. Pullulan/BCNCs nanocomposite coatings allowed an increase in the overall oxygen barrier performance, of more than two and one orders of magnitude (≈0.7 mL·m−2·24 h−1), of pure polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (≈120 mL·m−2·24 h−1) as well as pullulan/coated PET (≈6 mL·m−2·24 h−1), with no significant difference between treatments (hydrolysis mediated by EGs or with the addition of cellulase). BCNCs obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis have the potential to generate high oxygen barrier coatings for the food packaging industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: bacterial cellulose; cellulase; coating; endoglucanase; nanocomposite; oxygen barrier bacterial cellulose; cellulase; coating; endoglucanase; nanocomposite; oxygen barrier
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rovera, C.; Fiori, F.; Trabattoni, S.; Romano, D.; Farris, S. Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Bacterial Cellulose for the Production of Nanocrystals for the Food Packaging Industry. Nanomaterials 2020, 10, 735.

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