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Nanomaterials 2018, 8(7), 518;

Combining Living Microorganisms with Regenerated Silk Provides Nanofibril-Based Thin Films with Heat-Responsive Wrinkled States for Smart Food Packaging

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Ambientale, Università di Perugia, UdR INSTM, Strada di Pentima 4, 05100 Terni, Italy
Laboratory of Bio-Inspired and Graphene Nanomechanics, Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, I-38123 Trento, Italy
School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
Ket-Lab, Edoardo Amaldi Foundation, Italian Space Agency, via del Politecnico snc, I-00133 Roma, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 11 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics, Electrical and Optical Properties of Nano-Thin Films)
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Regenerated silk (RS) is a protein-based “biopolymer” that enables the design of new materials; here, we called “bionic” the process of regenerated silk production by a fermentation-assisted method. Based on yeast’s fermentation, here we produced a living hybrid composite made of regenerated silk nanofibrils and a single-cell fungi, the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast extract, by fermentation of such microorganisms at room temperature in a dissolution bath of silkworm silk fibers. The fermentation-based processing enhances the beta-sheet content of the RS, corresponding to a reduction in water permeability and CO2 diffusion through RS/yeast thin films enabling the fabrication of a mechanically robust film that enhances food storage durability. Finally, a transfer print method, which consists of transferring RS and RS/yeast film layers onto a self-adherent paraffin substrate, was used for the realization of heat-responsive wrinkles by exploiting the high thermal expansion of the paraffin substrate that regulates the applied strain, resulting in a switchable coating morphology from the wrinkle-free state to a wrinkled state if the food temperature overcomes a designed threshold. We envision that such efficient and smart coatings can be applied for the realization of smart packaging that, through such a temperature-sensing mechanism, can be used to control food storage conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: bionic composites; thin films; mechanical properties bionic composites; thin films; mechanical properties

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Valentini, L.; Bittolo Bon, S.; Pugno, N.M. Combining Living Microorganisms with Regenerated Silk Provides Nanofibril-Based Thin Films with Heat-Responsive Wrinkled States for Smart Food Packaging. Nanomaterials 2018, 8, 518.

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