ijms-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Synthesis and Applications of Biopolymer Composites"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (26 November 2018).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ana María Díez-Pascual
Website
Guest Editor
Prof. Patrizia Cinelli

Guest Editor
Universita di Pisa, Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, Pisa University, Largo Lucio Lazzarino 1, 56122, Pisa, Italy
Interests: biodegradable polymers, sustainability, biobased, composites, nanocomposites

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, a great deal of attention has been focused on research to replace petroleum-based commodity plastics with biodegradable and biocompatible polymers in a cost-effective manner. However, biopolymers generally present poor mechanical properties, limited processing capability and end-use application. In order to overcome these issues, and develop advanced materials for a wide range of applications, biopolymers can be reinforced with fillers or nanofillers. The nanostructures exhibit higher specific surface area, surface energy and density compared to conventional microfillers, and lead to materials with new and improved properties, hence are advantageous from an application viewpoint.

This Special Issue is planned to bring together a number of original papers and reviews covering (but not restricted to) the following topics:

  • Novel fabrication methods of biopolymer-based composites
  • Structure-property relationships in biopolymer composites
  • Properties of natural polymers, biopolymers, their blends and composites (mechanical, thermal, electrical, optical, chemical, magnetic, etc.)
  • Applications of reinforced polymeric biomaterials
  • Biopolymer composites in electronics
  • Biopolymer composites in water purification
  • Antibacterial activity of biopolymer-based composites
  • Biomedical applications of biopolymer-based composites
  • Biopolymer composites in packaging and food industry
  • Future perspectives for biopolymeric nanomaterials
Prof. Dr. Ana María Díez Pascual
Prof. Patrizia Cinelli
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biopolymers
  • Composites
  • Biodegradability
  • Nanoparticles
  • Mechanical properties
  • Biomedical applications
  • Antibacterial activity

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (23 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research

Open AccessEditorial
Synthesis and Applications of Biopolymer Composites
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(9), 2321; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092321 - 10 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In recent years, there has been a growing demand for a clean and pollution-free environment and an evident target to minimizing fossil fuel [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
Waste Autochthonous Tuscan Olive Leaves (Olea europaea var. Olivastra seggianese) as Antioxidant Source for Biomedicine
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(23), 5918; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20235918 - 25 Nov 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Olive leaf extract (OLE) can be obtained as biowaste and is extensively used a food supplement and an over-the-counter drug for its beneficial effects. New studies have investigated OLE concerning the role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of vascular disease. This in [...] Read more.
Olive leaf extract (OLE) can be obtained as biowaste and is extensively used a food supplement and an over-the-counter drug for its beneficial effects. New studies have investigated OLE concerning the role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of vascular disease. This in vitro study aims to evaluate if OLE extracted from the Tuscan Olea europaea protects endothelial cells against oxidative stress generated by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Methods: OLE total polyphenols (TPs) were characterized by the Folin–Ciocalteu method. Endothelial cells were grown in conventional cultures (i.e., two-dimensional, 2D) and on a biomaterial scaffold (i.e., three-dimensional, 3D) fabricated via electrospinning. Cell viability and ROS measurement after H2O2 insults were performed. Results: OLE TP content was 23.29 mg GAE/g, and oleuropein was the principal compound. The dose-dependent viability curve highlighted the absence of significant cytotoxic effects at OLE concentrations below 250 µg/mL TPs. By using OLE preconditioning at 100 µg/mL, cell viability decrease was observed, being in 3D lower than in the 2D model. OLE was protective against ROS in both models. Conclusions: OLE represents a high-value antioxidant source obtained by biowaste that is interesting for biomedical products. Using a 3D scaffold could be the best predictive model to mimic the physiological conditions of vascular tissue reaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Composites 2019)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Multifunctional Coatings for Robotic Implanted Device
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 5126; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20205126 - 16 Oct 2019
Abstract
The objective of this study was the preparation and physico-chemical, mechanical, biological, and functional characterization of a multifunctional coating for an innovative, fully implantable device. The multifunctional coating was designed to have three fundamental properties: adhesion to device, close mechanical resemblance to human [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was the preparation and physico-chemical, mechanical, biological, and functional characterization of a multifunctional coating for an innovative, fully implantable device. The multifunctional coating was designed to have three fundamental properties: adhesion to device, close mechanical resemblance to human soft tissues, and control of the inflammatory response and tissue repair process. This aim was fulfilled by preparing a multilayered coating based on three components: a hydrophilic primer to allow device adhesion, a poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel layer to provide good mechanical compliance with the human tissue, and a layer of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) fibers. The use of biopolymer fibers offered the potential for a long-term interface able to modulate the release of an anti-inflammatory drug (dexamethasone), thus contrasting acute and chronic inflammation response following device implantation. Two copolymers, poly(vinyl acetate-acrylic acid) and poly(vinyl alcohol-acrylic acid), were synthetized and characterized using thermal analysis (DSC, TGA), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR chemical imaging), in vitro cell viability, and an adhesion test. The resulting hydrogels were biocompatible, biostable, mechanically compatible with soft tissues, and able to incorporate and release the drug. Finally, the multifunctional coating showed a good adhesion to titanium substrate, no in vitro cytotoxicity, and a prolonged and controlled drug release. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Composites 2019)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Rational Design and Fabrication of ZnONPs Functionalized Sericin/PVA Antimicrobial Sponge
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(19), 4796; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20194796 - 27 Sep 2019
Abstract
The interests of developing antimicrobial biomaterials based on silk sericin from Bombyx mori cocoon, have been shooting up in the last decades. Sericin is a valuable natural protein owing to its hydrophilicity, biodegradability, and biocompatibility. Here, we fabricated a sponge with antibacterial capacities [...] Read more.
The interests of developing antimicrobial biomaterials based on silk sericin from Bombyx mori cocoon, have been shooting up in the last decades. Sericin is a valuable natural protein owing to its hydrophilicity, biodegradability, and biocompatibility. Here, we fabricated a sponge with antibacterial capacities for potential wound dressing application. By co-blending of sericin, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs), the ZnONPs-sericin/PVA composite sponge (ZnONPs-SP) was successfully prepared after freeze-drying. Scanning electron microscopy showed the porous structure of ZnONPs-SP. Energy dispersive spectroscopy indicated the existence of Zn in the sponge. X-ray diffractometry revealed the hexagonal wurtzite structure of ZnONPs. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed the biologic coupling of ZnONPs and sericin resulted in a decrease of α-helix and random coil contents, and an increase of β-sheet structure in the sponge. The swelling experiment suggested ZnONPs-SP has high porosity, good hydrophilicity, and water absorption capability. The plate bacterial colony counting coupled with growth curve assays demonstrated that the composite sponge has an efficiently bacteriostatic effect against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, respectively. Furthermore, the cell compatibility analysis suggested the composite sponge has excellent cytocompatibility on NIH3T3 cells. In all, ZnONPs-SP composite sponge has significant potentials in biomaterials such as wound dressing and tissue engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Composites 2019)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Chitin Nanofibrils and Nanolignin as Functional Agents in Skin Regeneration
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(11), 2669; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20112669 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
Chitin and lignin, by-products of fishery and plant biomass, can be converted to innovative high value bio- and eco-compatible materials. On the nanoscale, high antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, cicatrizing and anti-aging activity is obtained by controlling their crystalline structure and purity. Moreover, electropositive chitin nanofibrlis [...] Read more.
Chitin and lignin, by-products of fishery and plant biomass, can be converted to innovative high value bio- and eco-compatible materials. On the nanoscale, high antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, cicatrizing and anti-aging activity is obtained by controlling their crystalline structure and purity. Moreover, electropositive chitin nanofibrlis (CN) can be combined with electronegative nanolignin (NL) leading to microcapsule-like systems suitable for entrapping both hydrophilic and lipophilic molecules. The aim of this study was to provide morphological, physico-chemical, thermogravimetric and biological characterization of CN, NL, and CN-NL complexes, which were also loaded with glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) as a model of a bioactive molecule. CN-NL and CN-NL/GA were thermally stable up to 114 °C and 127 °C, respectively. The compounds were administered to in vitro cultures of human keratinocytes (HaCaT cells) and human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) for potential use in skin contact applications. Cell viability, cytokine expression and effects on hMSC multipotency were studied. For each component, CN, NL, CN-NL and CN-NL/GA, non-toxic concentrations towards HaCaT cells were identified. In the keratinocyte model, the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1α, IL-1 β, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α that resulted were downregulated, whereas the antimicrobial peptide human β defensin-2 was upregulated by CN-LN. The hMSCs were viable, and the use of these complexes did not modify the osteo-differentiation capability of these cells. The obtained findings demonstrate that these biocomponents are cytocompatible, show anti-inflammatory activity and may serve for the delivery of biomolecules for skin care and regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Composites 2019)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
PHB is Produced from Glycogen Turn-over during Nitrogen Starvation in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(8), 1942; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20081942 - 20 Apr 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is a polymer of great interest as a substitute for conventional plastics, which are becoming an enormous environmental problem. PHB can be produced directly from CO2 in photoautotrophic cyanobacteria. The model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 produces PHB under conditions [...] Read more.
Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is a polymer of great interest as a substitute for conventional plastics, which are becoming an enormous environmental problem. PHB can be produced directly from CO2 in photoautotrophic cyanobacteria. The model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 produces PHB under conditions of nitrogen starvation. However, it is so far unclear which metabolic pathways provide the precursor molecules for PHB synthesis during nitrogen starvation. In this study, we investigated if PHB could be derived from the main intracellular carbon pool, glycogen. A mutant of the major glycogen phosphorylase, GlgP2 (slr1367 product), was almost completely impaired in PHB synthesis. Conversely, in the absence of glycogen synthase GlgA1 (sll0945 product), cells not only produced less PHB, but were also impaired in acclimation to nitrogen depletion. To analyze the role of the various carbon catabolic pathways (EMP, ED and OPP pathways) for PHB production, mutants of key enzymes of these pathways were analyzed, showing different impact on PHB synthesis. Together, this study clearly indicates that PHB in glycogen-producing Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 cells is produced from this carbon-pool during nitrogen starvation periods. This knowledge can be used for metabolic engineering to get closer to the overall goal of a sustainable, carbon-neutral bioplastic production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Composites 2019)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Mechanical and Interfacial Properties of Bio-Composites Based on Poly(Lactic Acid) with Natural Cellulose Fibers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(4), 960; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20040960 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
The circular economy policy and the interest for sustainable material are inducing a constant expansion of the bio-composites market. The opportunity of using natural fibers in bio-based and biodegradable polymeric matrices, derived from industrial and/or agricultural waste, represents a stimulating challenge in the [...] Read more.
The circular economy policy and the interest for sustainable material are inducing a constant expansion of the bio-composites market. The opportunity of using natural fibers in bio-based and biodegradable polymeric matrices, derived from industrial and/or agricultural waste, represents a stimulating challenge in the replacement of traditional composites based on fossil sources. The coupling of bioplastics with natural fibers in order to lower costs and promote degradability is one of the primary objectives of research, above all in the packaging and agricultural sectors where large amounts of non-recyclable plastics are generated, inducing a serious problem for plastic disposal and potential accumulation in the environment. Among biopolymers, poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is one of the most used compostable, bio-based polymeric matrices, since it exhibits process ability and mechanical properties compatible with a wide range of applications. In this study, two types of cellulosic fibers were processed with PLA in order to obtain bio-composites with different percentages of microfibers (5%, 10%, 20%). The mechanical properties were evaluated (tensile and impact test), and analytical models were applied in order to estimate the adhesion between matrix and fibers and to predict the material’s stiffness. Understanding these properties is of particular importance in order to be able to tune and project the final characteristics of bio-composites. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Thermal, Mechanical, and Rheological Properties of Biocomposites Made of Poly(lactic acid) and Potato Pulp Powder
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030675 - 05 Feb 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
The thermal, mechanical, and rheological properties of biocomposites of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) with potato pulp powder were investigated in order to (1) quantify how the addition of this filler modifies the structure of the polymeric material and (2) to obtain information on the [...] Read more.
The thermal, mechanical, and rheological properties of biocomposites of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) with potato pulp powder were investigated in order to (1) quantify how the addition of this filler modifies the structure of the polymeric material and (2) to obtain information on the possible miscibility and compatibility between PLA and the potato pulp. The potato pulp powder utilized is a residue of the processing for the production and extraction of starch. The study was conducted by analyzing the effect of the potato pulp concentration on the thermal, mechanical, and rheological properties of the biocomposites. The results showed that the potato pulp powder does not act as reinforcement but as filler for the PLA polymeric matrix. A progressive decrease in elastic modulus, tensile strength, and elongation at break was observed with increasing the potato pulp percentage. This moderate loss of mechanical properties, however, still meets the technical requirements indicated for the production of rigid packaging items. The incorporation of potato pulp powder to PLA offers the possibility to reduce the cost of the final products and promotes a circular economy approach for the valorization of agro-food waste biomass. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Chitin Nanofibrils in Poly(Lactic Acid) (PLA) Nanocomposites: Dispersion and Thermo-Mechanical Properties
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030504 - 24 Jan 2019
Cited by 17
Abstract
Chitin-nanofibrils are obtained in water suspension at low concentration, as nanoparticles normally are, to avoid their aggregation. The addition of the fibrils in molten PLA during extrusion is thus difficult and disadvantageous. In the present paper, the use of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) is [...] Read more.
Chitin-nanofibrils are obtained in water suspension at low concentration, as nanoparticles normally are, to avoid their aggregation. The addition of the fibrils in molten PLA during extrusion is thus difficult and disadvantageous. In the present paper, the use of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) is proposed to prepare a solid pre-composite by water evaporation. The pre-composite is then added to PLA in the extruder to obtain transparent nanocomposites. The amount of PEG and chitin nanofibrils was varied in the nanocomposites to compare the reinforcement due to nanofibrils and plasticization due to the presence of PEG, as well as for extrapolating, where possible, the properties of reinforcement due to chitin nanofibrils exclusively. Thermal and morphological properties of nanocomposites were also investigated. This study concluded that chitin nanofibrils, added as reinforcing filler up to 12% by weight, do not alter the properties of the PLA based material; hence, this additive can be used in bioplastic items mainly exploiting its intrinsic anti-microbial and skin regenerating properties. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Processability and Degradability of PHA-Based Composites in Terrestrial Environments
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(2), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20020284 - 12 Jan 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
In this work, composites based on poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHB-HV) and waste wood sawdust (SD) fibers, a byproduct of the wood industry, were produced by melt extrusion and characterized in terms of processability, thermal stability, morphology, and mechanical properties in order to discriminate the formulations [...] Read more.
In this work, composites based on poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHB-HV) and waste wood sawdust (SD) fibers, a byproduct of the wood industry, were produced by melt extrusion and characterized in terms of processability, thermal stability, morphology, and mechanical properties in order to discriminate the formulations suitable for injection molding. Given their application in agriculture and/or plant nursery, the biodegradability of the optimized composites was investigated under controlled composting conditions in accordance with standard methods (ASTM D5338-98 and ISO 20200-2004). The optimized PHB-HV/SD composites were used for the production of pots by injection molding and their performance was qualitatively monitored in a plant nursery and underground for 14 months. This study presents a sustainable option of valuation of wood factory residues and lowering the production cost of PHB-HV-based compounds without affecting their mechanical properties, improving their impact resistance and biodegradability rates in terrestrial environments. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Impact of pH Modification on Protein Polymerization and Structure–Function Relationships in Potato Protein and Wheat Gluten Composites
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010058 - 24 Dec 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Wheat gluten (WG) and potato protein (PP) were modified to a basic pH by NaOH to impact macromolecular and structural properties. Films were processed by compression molding (at 130 and 150 °C) of WG, PP, their chemically modified versions (MWG, MPP) and of [...] Read more.
Wheat gluten (WG) and potato protein (PP) were modified to a basic pH by NaOH to impact macromolecular and structural properties. Films were processed by compression molding (at 130 and 150 °C) of WG, PP, their chemically modified versions (MWG, MPP) and of their blends in different ratios to study the impact of chemical modification on structure, processing and tensile properties. The modification changed the molecular and secondary structure of both protein powders, through unfolding and re-polymerization, resulting in less cross-linked proteins. The β-sheet formation due to NaOH modification increased for WG and decreased for PP. Processing resulted in cross-linking of the proteins, shown by a decrease in extractability; to a higher degree for WG than for PP, despite higher β-sheet content in PP. Compression molding of MPP resulted in an increase in protein cross-linking and improved maximum stress and extensibility as compared to PP at 130 °C. The highest degree of cross-linking with improved maximum stress and extensibility was found for WG/MPP blends compared to WG/PP and MWG/MPP at 130 °C. To conclude, chemical modification of PP changed the protein structures produced under harsh industrial conditions and made the protein more reactive and attractive for use in bio-based materials processing, no such positive gains were seen for WG. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Study on Thermal Decomposition Behaviors of Terpolymers of Carbon Dioxide, Propylene Oxide, and Cyclohexene Oxide
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(12), 3723; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19123723 - 23 Nov 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The terpolymerization of carbon dioxide (CO2), propylene oxide (PO), and cyclohexene oxide (CHO) were performed by both random polymerization and block polymerization to synthesize the random poly (propylene cyclohexene carbonate) (PPCHC), di-block polymers of poly (propylene carbonate–cyclohexyl carbonate) (PPC-PCHC), and tri-block [...] Read more.
The terpolymerization of carbon dioxide (CO2), propylene oxide (PO), and cyclohexene oxide (CHO) were performed by both random polymerization and block polymerization to synthesize the random poly (propylene cyclohexene carbonate) (PPCHC), di-block polymers of poly (propylene carbonate–cyclohexyl carbonate) (PPC-PCHC), and tri-block polymers of poly (cyclohexyl carbonate–propylene carbonate–cyclohexyl carbonate) (PCHC-PPC-PCHC). The kinetics of the thermal degradation of the terpolymers was investigated by the multiple heating rate method (Kissinger-Akahira-Sunose (KAS) method), the single heating rate method (Coats-Redfern method), and the Isoconversional kinetic analysis method proposed by Vyazovkin with the data from thermogravimetric analysis under dynamic conditions. The values of ln k vs. T−1 for the thermal decomposition of four polymers demonstrate the thermal stability of PPC and PPC-PCHC are poorer than PPCHC and PCHC-PPC-PCHC. In addition, for PPCHC and PCHC-PPC-PCHC, there is an intersection between the two rate constant lines, which means that, for thermal stability of PPCHC, it is more stable than PCHC-PPC-PCHC at the temperature less than 309 °C and less stable when the decomposed temperature is more than 309 °C. Pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) and thermogravimetric analysis/infrared spectrometry (TG/FTIR) techniques were applied to investigate the thermal degradation behavior of the polymers. The results showed that unzipping was the main degradation mechanism of all polymers so the final pyrolysates were cyclic propylene carbonate and cyclic cyclohexene carbonate. For the block copolymers, the main chain scission reaction first occurs at PC-PC linkages initiating an unzipping reaction of PPC chain and then, at CHC–CHC linkages, initiating an unzipping reaction of the PCHC chain. That is why the T−5% of di-block and tri-block polymers were not much higher than that of PPC while two maximum decomposition temperatures were observed for both the block copolymer and the second one were much higher than that of PPC. For PPCHC, the random arranged bulky cyclohexane groups in the polymer chain can effectively suppress the backbiting process and retard the unzipping reaction. Thus, it exhibited much higher T−5% than that of PPC and block copolymers. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Ecklonia cava Alginate Films Containing Cinnamon Essential Oils
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3545; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113545 - 10 Nov 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
In this study, Ecklonia cava alginate (ECA) was used as a base material for biodegradable films. Calcium chloride (CaCl2) was used as a cross-linking agent, and various concentrations (0%, 0.4%, 0.7%, and 1.0%) of cinnamon leaf oil (CLO) or cinnamon bark [...] Read more.
In this study, Ecklonia cava alginate (ECA) was used as a base material for biodegradable films. Calcium chloride (CaCl2) was used as a cross-linking agent, and various concentrations (0%, 0.4%, 0.7%, and 1.0%) of cinnamon leaf oil (CLO) or cinnamon bark oil (CBO) were incorporated to prepare active films. The ECA film containing 3% CaCl2 had a tensile strength (TS) of 17.82 MPa and an elongation at break (E) of 10.36%, which were higher than those of the film without CaCl2. As the content of essential oils (EOs) increased, TS decreased and E increased. Addition of CLO or CBO also provided antioxidant and antimicrobial activities to the ECA films. The antioxidant activity of the ECA film with CBO was higher than that of the film containing CLO. In particular, the scavenging activities of the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) radicals in the ECA film containing 1% CBO were 50.45% and 99.37%, respectively. In contrast, the antimicrobial activities against Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria monocytogenes were superior in the ECA films with CLO. These results suggest that ECA films containing CLO or CBO can be applied as new active packaging materials. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Structural Transformation Mechanism of Chinese and Thailand Silk Fibroin Fibers and Formic-Acid Fabricated Silk Films
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3309; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113309 - 24 Oct 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Silk fibroin (SF) is a protein polymer derived from insects, which has unique mechanical properties and tunable biodegradation rate due to its variable structures. Here, the variability of structural, thermal, and mechanical properties of two domesticated silk films (Chinese and Thailand B. [...] Read more.
Silk fibroin (SF) is a protein polymer derived from insects, which has unique mechanical properties and tunable biodegradation rate due to its variable structures. Here, the variability of structural, thermal, and mechanical properties of two domesticated silk films (Chinese and Thailand B. Mori) regenerated from formic acid solution, as well as their original fibers, were compared and investigated using dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR). Four relaxation events appeared clearly during the temperature region of 25 °C to 280 °C in DMA curves, and their disorder degree (fdis) and glass transition temperature (Tg) were predicted using Group Interaction Modeling (GIM). Compared with Thai (Thailand) regenerated silks, Chin (Chinese) silks possess a lower Tg, higher fdis, and better elasticity and mechanical strength. As the calcium chloride content in the initial processing solvent increases (1%–6%), the Tg of the final SF samples gradually decrease, while their fdis increase. Besides, SF with more non-crystalline structures shows high plasticity. Two α- relaxations in the glass transition region of tan δ curve were identified due to the structural transition of silk protein. These findings provide a new perspective for the design of advanced protein biomaterials with different secondary structures, and facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the structure-property relationship of various biopolymers in the future. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Amphiphilic Polymeric Micelles Based on Deoxycholic Acid and Folic Acid Modified Chitosan for the Delivery of Paclitaxel
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(10), 3132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19103132 - 12 Oct 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
The present investigation aimed to develop a tumor-targeting drug delivery system for paclitaxel (PTX). The hydrophobic deoxycholic acid (DA) and active targeting ligand folic acid (FA) were used to modify water-soluble chitosan (CS). As an amphiphilic polymer, the conjugate FA-CS-DA was synthesized and [...] Read more.
The present investigation aimed to develop a tumor-targeting drug delivery system for paclitaxel (PTX). The hydrophobic deoxycholic acid (DA) and active targeting ligand folic acid (FA) were used to modify water-soluble chitosan (CS). As an amphiphilic polymer, the conjugate FA-CS-DA was synthesized and characterized by Proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis. The degree of substitutions of DA and FA were calculated as 15.8% and 8.0%, respectively. In aqueous medium, the conjugate could self-assemble into micelles with the critical micelle concentration of 6.6 × 10−3 mg/mL. Under a transmission electron microscope (TEM), the PTX-loaded micelles exhibited a spherical shape. The particle size determined by dynamic light scattering was 126 nm, and the zeta potential was +19.3 mV. The drug loading efficiency and entrapment efficiency were 9.1% and 81.2%, respectively. X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) analysis showed that the PTX was encapsulated in the micelles in a molecular or amorphous state. In vitro and in vivo antitumor evaluations demonstrated the excellent antitumor activity of PTX-loaded micelles. It was suggested that FA-CS-DA was a safe and effective carrier for the intravenous delivery of paclitaxel. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Degradation Studies Realized on Natural Rubber and Plasticized Potato Starch Based Eco-Composites Obtained by Peroxide Cross-Linking
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(10), 2862; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19102862 - 20 Sep 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
The obtaining and characterization of some environmental-friendly composites that are based on natural rubber and plasticized starch, as filler, are presented. These were obtained by peroxide cross-linking in the presence of a polyfunctional monomer used here as cross-linking co-agent, trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate. The influence [...] Read more.
The obtaining and characterization of some environmental-friendly composites that are based on natural rubber and plasticized starch, as filler, are presented. These were obtained by peroxide cross-linking in the presence of a polyfunctional monomer used here as cross-linking co-agent, trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate. The influence of plasticized starch amount on the composites physical and mechanical characteristics, gel fraction and cross-link density, water uptake, structure and morphology before and after accelerated (thermal) degradation, and natural (for one year in temperate climate) ageing, was studied. Differences of two orders of magnitude between the degradation/aging methods were registered in the case of some mechanical characteristics, by increasing the plasticized starch amount. The cross-link density, water uptake and mass loss were also significant affected by the plasticized starch amount increasing and exposing for one year to natural ageing in temperate climate. Based on the results of Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and cross-link density measurements, reaction mechanisms attributed to degradation induced by accelerated and natural ageing were done. SEM micrographs have confirmed in addition that by incorporating a quantity of hydrophilic starch amount over 20 phr and by exposing the composites to natural ageing, and then degradability can be enhanced by comparing with thermal degradation. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
The Degradation Properties of MgO Whiskers/PLLA Composite In Vitro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2740; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092740 - 13 Sep 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this study, composite films of stearic acid–modified magnesium oxide whiskers (Sa–w-MgO)/poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) were prepared through solution casting, and the in vitro degradation properties and cytocompatibility of the composites with different whisker contents were investigated. The results showed that the [...] Read more.
In this study, composite films of stearic acid–modified magnesium oxide whiskers (Sa–w-MgO)/poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) were prepared through solution casting, and the in vitro degradation properties and cytocompatibility of the composites with different whisker contents were investigated. The results showed that the degradation behavior of the composite samples depended significantly on the whisker content, and the degradation rate increased with the addition of MgO content. Furthermore, the degradation of the composites with higher contents of whiskers was influenced more severely by the hydrophilicity and pH value, leading to more final weight loss, but the decomposition rate decreased gradually. Furthermore, the pH value of the phosphate buffer solution (PBS) was obviously regulated by the dissolution of MgO whiskers through neutralization of the acidic product of PLLA degradation. The cytocompatibility of the composites also increased remarkably, as determined from the cell viability results, and was higher than that of PLLA at the chosen whisker content. This was beneficial for the cell affinity of the material, as it notably led to an enhanced biocompatibility of the PLLA, in favor of promoting cell proliferation, which significantly improved its bioactivity, as well. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Toughness Enhancement of PHBV/TPU/Cellulose Compounds with Reactive Additives for Compostable Injected Parts in Industrial Applications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 2102; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19072102 - 19 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-valerate), PHBV, is a bacterial thermoplastic biopolyester that possesses interesting thermal and mechanical properties. As it is fully biodegradable, it could be an alternative to the use of commodities in single-use applications or in those intended for composting at their end of life. [...] Read more.
Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-valerate), PHBV, is a bacterial thermoplastic biopolyester that possesses interesting thermal and mechanical properties. As it is fully biodegradable, it could be an alternative to the use of commodities in single-use applications or in those intended for composting at their end of life. Two big drawbacks of PHBV are its low impact toughness and its high cost, which limit its potential applications. In this work, we proposed the use of a PHBV-based compound with purified α-cellulose fibres and a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), with the purpose of improving the performance of PHBV in terms of balanced heat resistance, stiffness, and toughness. Three reactive agents with different functionalities have been tested in these compounds: hexametylene diisocianate (HMDI), a commercial multi-epoxy-functionalized styrene-co-glycidyl methacrylate oligomer (Joncryl® ADR-4368), and triglycidyl isocyanurate (TGIC). The results indicate that the reactive agents play a main role of compatibilizers among the phases of the PHBV/TPU/cellulose compounds. HMDI showed the highest ability to compatibilize the cellulose and the PHBV in the compounds, with the topmost values of deformation at break, static toughness, and impact strength. Joncryl® and TGIC, on the other hand, seemed to enhance the compatibility between the fibres and the polymer matrix as well as the TPU within the PHBV. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Biodegradable and Toughened Composite of Poly(Propylene Carbonate)/Thermoplastic Polyurethane (PPC/TPU): Effect of Hydrogen Bonding
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 2032; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19072032 - 13 Jul 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The blends of Poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC) and polyester-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) were melt compounded in an internal mixer. The compatibility, thermal behaviors, mechanical properties and toughening mechanism of the blends were investigated using Fourier transform infrared spectra (FTIR), tensile tests, impact tests, differential [...] Read more.
The blends of Poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC) and polyester-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) were melt compounded in an internal mixer. The compatibility, thermal behaviors, mechanical properties and toughening mechanism of the blends were investigated using Fourier transform infrared spectra (FTIR), tensile tests, impact tests, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and dynamic mechanical analysis technologies. FTIR and SEM examination reveal strong interfacial adhesion between PPC matrix and suspended TPU particles. Dynamic mechanical analyzer (DMA) characterize the glass transition temperature, secondary motion and low temperature properties. By the incorporation of TPU, the thermal stabilities are greatly enhanced and the mechanical properties are obviously improved for the PPC/TPU blends. Moreover, PPC/TPU blends exhibit a brittle-ductile transition with the addition of 20 wt % TPU. It is considered that the enhanced toughness results in the shear yielding occurred in both PPC matrix and TPU particles of the blends. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effect of Surfactant Type and Sonication Energy on the Electrical Conductivity Properties of Nanocellulose-CNT Nanocomposite Films
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(6), 1819; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19061819 - 20 Jun 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
We present a detailed study on the influence of sonication energy and surfactant type on the electrical conductivity of nanocellulose-carbon nanotube (NFC-CNT) nanocomposite films. The study was made using a minimum amount of processing steps, chemicals and materials, to optimize the conductivity properties [...] Read more.
We present a detailed study on the influence of sonication energy and surfactant type on the electrical conductivity of nanocellulose-carbon nanotube (NFC-CNT) nanocomposite films. The study was made using a minimum amount of processing steps, chemicals and materials, to optimize the conductivity properties of free-standing flexible nanocomposite films. In general, the NFC-CNT film preparation process is sensitive concerning the dispersing phase of CNTs into a solution with NFC. In our study, we used sonication to carry out the dispersing phase of processing in the presence of surfactant. In the final phase, the films were prepared from the dispersion using centrifugal cast molding. The solid films were analyzed regarding their electrical conductivity using a four-probe measuring technique. We also characterized how conductivity properties were enhanced when surfactant was removed from nanocomposite films; to our knowledge this has not been reported previously. The results of our study indicated that the optimization of the surfactant type clearly affected the formation of freestanding films. The effect of sonication energy was significant in terms of conductivity. Using a relatively low 16 wt. % concentration of multiwall carbon nanotubes we achieved the highest conductivity value of 8.4 S/cm for nanocellulose-CNT films ever published in the current literature. This was achieved by optimizing the surfactant type and sonication energy per dry mass. Additionally, to further increase the conductivity, we defined a preparation step to remove the used surfactant from the final nanocomposite structure. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Morphological Study of Chitosan/Poly (Vinyl Alcohol) Nanofibers Prepared by Electrospinning, Collected on Reticulated Vitreous Carbon
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(6), 1718; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19061718 - 09 Jun 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
In this work, chitosan (CS)/poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) nanofibers were prepared by using the electrospinning method. Different CS concentrations (0.5, 1, 2, and 3 wt %), maintaining the PVA concentration at 8 wt %, were tested. Likewise, the studied electrospinning experimental parameters were: [...] Read more.
In this work, chitosan (CS)/poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) nanofibers were prepared by using the electrospinning method. Different CS concentrations (0.5, 1, 2, and 3 wt %), maintaining the PVA concentration at 8 wt %, were tested. Likewise, the studied electrospinning experimental parameters were: syringe/collector distance, solution flow and voltage. Subsequently, the electrospun fibers were collected on a reticulated vitreous carbon (RVC) support for 0.25, 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2 h. The morphology and diameter of the CS/PVA nanofibers were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), finding diameters in the order of 132 and 212 nm; the best results (uniform fibers) were obtained from the solution with 2 wt % of chitosan and a voltage, distance, and flow rate of 16 kV, 20 cm, and 0.13 mL/h, respectively. Afterwards, a treatment with an ethanolic NaOH solution was performed, observing a change in the fiber morphology and a diameter decrease (117 ± 9 nm). Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Polymeric Micelles Based on Modified Glycol Chitosan for Paclitaxel Delivery: Preparation, Characterization and Evaluation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(6), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19061550 - 23 May 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
Amphiphilic polymer of α-tocopherol succinate modified glycol chitosan (TS-GC) was successfully constructed by conjugating α-tocopherol succinate to the skeleton of glycol chitosan and characterized by Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR). In aqueous milieu, the conjugates self-assembled to [...] Read more.
Amphiphilic polymer of α-tocopherol succinate modified glycol chitosan (TS-GC) was successfully constructed by conjugating α-tocopherol succinate to the skeleton of glycol chitosan and characterized by Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR). In aqueous milieu, the conjugates self-assembled to micelles with the critical aggregation concentration of 7.2 × 10−3 mg/mL. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) observation and dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements were carried out to determine the physicochemical properties of the micelles. The results revealed that paclitaxel (PTX)-loaded TS-GC micelles were spherical in shape. Moreover, the PTX-loaded micelles showed increased particle sizes (35 nm vs. 142 nm) and a little reduced zeta potential (+19 mV vs. +16 mV) compared with blank micelles. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) spectra demonstrated that PTX existed inside the micelles in amorphous or molecular state. In vitro and in vivo tests showed that the PTX-loaded TS-GC micelles had advantages over the Cremophor EL-based formulation in terms of low toxicity level and increased dose, which suggested the potential of the polymer as carriers for PTX to improve their delivery properties. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Structure/Function Analysis of Cotton-Based Peptide-Cellulose Conjugates: Spatiotemporal/Kinetic Assessment of Protease Aerogels Compared to Nanocrystalline and Paper Cellulose
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(3), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19030840 - 13 Mar 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
Nanocellulose has high specific surface area, hydration properties, and ease of derivatization to prepare protease sensors. A Human Neutrophil Elastase sensor designed with a nanocellulose aerogel transducer surface derived from cotton is compared with cotton filter paper, and nanocrystalline cellulose versions of the [...] Read more.
Nanocellulose has high specific surface area, hydration properties, and ease of derivatization to prepare protease sensors. A Human Neutrophil Elastase sensor designed with a nanocellulose aerogel transducer surface derived from cotton is compared with cotton filter paper, and nanocrystalline cellulose versions of the sensor. X-ray crystallography was employed along with Michaelis–Menten enzyme kinetics, and circular dichroism to contrast the structure/function relations of the peptide-cellulose conjugate conformation to enzyme/substrate binding and turnover rates. The nanocellulosic aerogel was found to have a cellulose II structure. The spatiotemporal relation of crystallite surface to peptide-cellulose conformation is discussed in light of observed enzyme kinetics. A higher substrate binding affinity (Km) of elastase was observed with the nanocellulose aerogel and nanocrystalline peptide-cellulose conjugates than with the solution-based elastase substrate. An increased Km observed for the nanocellulosic aerogel sensor yields a higher enzyme efficiency (kcat/Km), attributable to binding of the serine protease to the negatively charged cellulose surface. The effect of crystallite size and β-turn peptide conformation are related to the peptide-cellulose kinetics. Models demonstrating the orientation of cellulose to peptide O6-hydroxymethyl rotamers of the conjugates at the surface of the cellulose crystal suggest the relative accessibility of the peptide-cellulose conjugates for enzyme active site binding. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Back to TopTop