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Novel Bio-Based Materials from Renewable Sources

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 (15 May 2023) | Viewed by 13736

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, 80126 Naples, Italy
Interests: industrial enzymology; food biotechnology; hydrocolloid films for food coatings or wrappings.
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, 80126 Naples, Italy
Interests: biodegradable materials; bioplastics, nutrition biochemistry
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The use of petroleum-based plastics in different fields, such as food and agriculture as well as pharmaceutical sectors, has increased significantly in the last 50 years, with the durability of the plastic materials and their outstanding characteristics being the main reason for their success. However, their worldwide application has led to huge waste-disposal problems and, as a consequence, to significant environmental pollution. These issues have encouraged innovation and research activities in the field of biodegradable materials, offering alternatives for conventional plastics. One potential option to pursue would be to explore agri-food wastes and industrial by-products for bioplastic production. These sources are renewable and sustainable, since they are made of biodegradable molecules such as carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. Different processes for manufacturing and characterizing such kinds of bio-based innovative materials may be exploited and various chemical and enzymatic procedures may be applied to strengthen their matrix. The obtained bioplastics may be then used in different industrial sectors according to their tailored technological and biological properties, such as 1) the food sector to prolong the shelf-life of different products; 2) the agriculture sector as biodegradable mulching sheets or for the controlled release of fertilizers and pesticides; and 3) the pharmaceutical sector to vehicle active molecules.

We invite investigators to contribute original research articles as well as review articles regarding the production and characterization of different kinds of bioplastics obtained by using different experimental approaches. Since the main disadvantages of the films derived from bio-based sources are their unsatisfactory mechanical properties and high sensitivity to the moisture, research using new enzymes, plasticizers, nanoparticles, or studies based on mono- and multi-layer systems by blending different biopolymers, is strongly preferred. Finally, a further requested topic of the present Special Issue is the development of novel materials functionalized through bioactive molecules in order to tailor them for specific antimicrobial and antioxidant applications both in animal and plant fields.

Prof. Dr. Raffaele Porta
Dr. Concetta Valeria Lucia Giosafatto
Prof. Dr. Loredana Mariniello
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • renewable sources
  • bio-based materials
  • bioplastics
  • biopolymers
  • biocomposites
  • edible films
  • food packaging
  • drug delivery system
  • sustainable agriculture
  • biorefinery

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 4267 KiB  
Article
Study on Physicochemical Properties of Biocomposite Films with Spent Coffee Grounds as a Filler and Their Influence on Physiological State of Growing Plants
by Magdalena Zdanowicz, Marta Rokosa, Magdalena Pieczykolan, Adrian Krzysztof Antosik, Justyna Chudecka and Małgorzata Mikiciuk
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(9), 7864; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24097864 - 26 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1753
Abstract
The aim of the study was to plasticize corn starch with two selected urea (U)-rich plasticizers: choline chloride (CC):U or betaine (B):U eutectic mixtures at a molar ratio of 1:5 with a presence of spent coffee grounds as a filler. The biomaterials were [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to plasticize corn starch with two selected urea (U)-rich plasticizers: choline chloride (CC):U or betaine (B):U eutectic mixtures at a molar ratio of 1:5 with a presence of spent coffee grounds as a filler. The biomaterials were prepared via a solventless one-step extrusion method and then extrudates were thermoformed using compression molding into sheets. The materials were characterized using mechanical and sorption tests, TGA, DMTA and FTIR. Additionally, a study on the biodegradation and remaining nitrogen content in soil was conducted. For the first time, an influence on physiological state of growing plants of the materials presence in soil was investigated. The addition of the coffee filler slightly increased the mechanical properties and decreased the swelling degree of the materials. The DMTA results indicated that biocomposites were easily thermoformable and the high filler addition (20 pph per polymer matrix) did not affect the processability. According to the biodegradation test results, the materials disappeared in soil within ca. 70 days. The results from this study on the physiological state of growing plants revealed that the materials, especially plasticized with CCU, did not exhibit any toxic effect on the yellow dwarf bean. The percentage of total nitrogen in the soil substrate in comparison with the control increased indicating an effective release of nitrogen from the TPS materials into the substrate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Bio-Based Materials from Renewable Sources)
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21 pages, 4894 KiB  
Article
Mechanical, Barrier and Thermal Properties of Amylose-Argan Proteins-Based Bioplastics in the Presence of Transglutaminase
by Michela Famiglietti, Domenico Zannini, Rosa Turco and Loredana Mariniello
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(4), 3405; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24043405 - 08 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1526
Abstract
The bioeconomy aims to discover new sources for producing energy and materials and to valorize byproducts that otherwise would get wasted. In this work, we investigate the possibility of producing novel bioplastics, made up of argan seed proteins (APs), extracted from argan oilcake, [...] Read more.
The bioeconomy aims to discover new sources for producing energy and materials and to valorize byproducts that otherwise would get wasted. In this work, we investigate the possibility of producing novel bioplastics, made up of argan seed proteins (APs), extracted from argan oilcake, and amylose (AM), obtained from barley plants through an RNA interference technique. Argan, Argania spinosa, is a plant widespread in arid regions of Northern Africa, where it plays a fundamental socio-ecological role. Argan seeds are used to obtain a biologically active and edible oil, producing a byproduct, the oilcake, that is rich in proteins, fibers, and fats, and is generally used as animal food. Recently, argan oilcakes have been attracting attention as a waste to be recovered to obtain high-added-value products. Here, APs were chosen to test the performance of blended bioplastics with AM, because they have the potential to improve the properties of the final product. High-AM-starches present attractive features for use as bioplastics, including a higher gel-forming capacity, a higher thermal stability, and reduced swelling compared to normal starch. It has already been demonstrated that pure AM-based films provide more suitable properties than normal starch-based films. Here, we report on the performance of these novel blended bioplastics in terms of their mechanical, barrier, and thermal properties; and the effect of the enzyme microbial transglutaminase (mTGase) as a reticulating agent for AP’s components was also studied. These results contribute to the development of novel sustainable bioplastics with improved properties and confirm the possibility of valorizing the byproduct, APs, using them as a new raw material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Bio-Based Materials from Renewable Sources)
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11 pages, 3096 KiB  
Article
Ion-Modified Starch Film Enables Rapid Detection of Spoiled Fruit Juices
by Shijiao Qin, Yujia Wu, Hao Tian, Yun Liu, Huan Kan, Defa Hou, Xu Lin, Yunwu Zheng, Zhifeng Zheng and Can Liu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(23), 14732; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232314732 - 25 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1344
Abstract
Juice, as a liquid foodstuff, is subject to spoilage and damage due to complications during transport and storage. The appearance of intact outer packaging often makes spoilage and damage difficult to detect. Therefore, it of particular importance to develop a fast, real-time material [...] Read more.
Juice, as a liquid foodstuff, is subject to spoilage and damage due to complications during transport and storage. The appearance of intact outer packaging often makes spoilage and damage difficult to detect. Therefore, it of particular importance to develop a fast, real-time material to evaluate liquid foodstuffs. In this paper, starch films with pH response characteristics are successfully prepared by inorganic ion modification by utilizing whole starch and amylopectin as raw materials. The mechanical properties, stability properties, hydrophilic properties and pH electrical signal response indices of the films are analyzed and measured. The films exhibit good electrical conductivity values with 1.0 mL of ion addition (10 mmol/L), causing the composite film to respond sensitively to solutions with varying pH values. In the test of spoiled orange juice, the full-component corn starch (CS) film has more sensitive resistance and current responses, which is more conducive for applications in the quality monitoring of juice. The results indicate that modified starch films can potentially be applied in the real-time monitoring of the safety of liquid foodstuffs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Bio-Based Materials from Renewable Sources)
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16 pages, 4943 KiB  
Article
Properties and Biodegradability of Films Based on Cellulose and Cellulose Nanocrystals from Corn Cob in Mixture with Chitosan
by Monserrat Escamilla-García, Mónica Citlali García-García, Jorge Gracida, Hilda María Hernández-Hernández, José Ángel Granados-Arvizu, Próspero Di Pierro and Carlos Regalado-González
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(18), 10560; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms231810560 - 12 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2425
Abstract
The increase in consumer demand for more sustainable packaging materials represents an opportunity for biopolymers utilization as an alternative to reduce the environmental impact of plastics. Cellulose (C) and chitosan (CH) are attractive biopolymers for film production due to their high abundance, biodegradability [...] Read more.
The increase in consumer demand for more sustainable packaging materials represents an opportunity for biopolymers utilization as an alternative to reduce the environmental impact of plastics. Cellulose (C) and chitosan (CH) are attractive biopolymers for film production due to their high abundance, biodegradability and low toxicity. The objective of this work was to incorporate cellulose nanocrystals (NC) and C extracted from corn cobs in films added with chitosan and to evaluate their properties and biodegradability. The physicochemical (water vapor barrier, moisture content, water solubility and color) and mechanical properties of the films were evaluated. Component interactions using Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, surface topography by means of atomic force microscopy (AFM), biodegradability utilizing a fungal mixture and compostability by burying film discs in compost were also determined. The C-NC-CH compared to C-CH films presented a lower moisture content (17.19 ± 1.11% and 20.07 ± 1.01%; w/w, respectively) and water vapor permeability (g m−1 s−1 Pa−1 × 10−12: 1.05 ± 0.15 and 1.57 ± 0.10; w/w, respectively) associated with the NC addition. Significantly high roughness (Rq = 4.90 ± 0.98 nm) was observed in films added to NC, suggesting a decreased homogeneity. The biodegradability test showed larger fungal growth on C-CH films than on CH films (>60% and <10%, respectively) due to the antifungal properties of CH. C extracted from corn cobs resulted in a good option as an alternative packaging material, while the use of NC improved the luminosity and water barrier properties of C-CH films, promoting strong interactions due to hydrogen bonds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Bio-Based Materials from Renewable Sources)
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14 pages, 3071 KiB  
Article
Argan (Argania spinosa L.) Seed Oil Cake as a Potential Source of Protein-Based Film Matrix for Pharmaco-Cosmetic Applications
by Seyedeh Fatemeh Mirpoor, Concetta Valeria L. Giosafatto, Loredana Mariniello, Antonella D’Agostino, Maria D’Agostino, Marcella Cammarota, Chiara Schiraldi and Raffaele Porta
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(15), 8478; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23158478 - 30 Jul 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2131
Abstract
Various different agri-food biomasses might be turned into renewable sources for producing biodegradable and edible plastics, potentially attractive for food, agricultural and cosmeceutical sectors. In this regard, different seeds utilized for edible and non-edible oil extraction give rise to high amounts of organic [...] Read more.
Various different agri-food biomasses might be turned into renewable sources for producing biodegradable and edible plastics, potentially attractive for food, agricultural and cosmeceutical sectors. In this regard, different seeds utilized for edible and non-edible oil extraction give rise to high amounts of organic by-products, known as seed oil cakes (SOCs), potentially able to become protein-rich resources useful for the manufacturing of biodegradable films. This study reports the potential of SOC derived from Argania spinosa (argan), a well-known plant containing valuable non-refined oil suitable for food or cosmetic use, to be a promising valuable source for production of a protein-based matrix of biomaterials to be used in the pharmaco-cosmetic sector. Thus, glycerol-plasticized films were prepared by casting and drying using different amounts of argan seed protein concentrate, in the presence of increasing glycerol concentrations, and characterized for their morphological, mechanical, barrier, and hydrophilicity properties. In addition, their antioxidant activity and effects on cell viability and wound healing were investigated. The hydrophobic nature of the argan protein-based films, and their satisfying physicochemical and biological properties, suggest a biorefinery approach for the recycling of argan SOC as valuable raw material for manufacturing new products to be used in the cosmeceutical and food industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Bio-Based Materials from Renewable Sources)
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Review

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18 pages, 3003 KiB  
Review
Sustainable Exploitation of Posidonia oceanica Sea Balls (Egagropili): A Review
by Odile Francesca Restaino, Concetta Valeria L. Giosafatto, Seyedeh Fatemeh Mirpoor, Marcella Cammarota, Sondos Hejazi, Loredana Mariniello, Chiara Schiraldi and Raffaele Porta
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(8), 7301; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24087301 - 14 Apr 2023
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3617
Abstract
Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile is the main seagrass plant in the Mediterranean basin that forms huge underwater meadows. Its leaves, when decomposed, are transported to the coasts, where they create huge banquettes that protect the beaches from sea erosion. Its roots and rhizome [...] Read more.
Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile is the main seagrass plant in the Mediterranean basin that forms huge underwater meadows. Its leaves, when decomposed, are transported to the coasts, where they create huge banquettes that protect the beaches from sea erosion. Its roots and rhizome fragments, instead, aggregate into fibrous sea balls, called egagropili, that are shaped and accumulated by the waves along the shoreline. Their presence on the beach is generally disliked by tourists, and, thus, local communities commonly treat them as waste to remove and discard. Posidonia oceanica egagropili might represent a vegetable lignocellulose biomass to be valorized as a renewable substrate to produce added value molecules in biotechnological processes, as bio-absorbents in environmental decontamination, to prepare new bioplastics and biocomposites, or as insulating and reinforcement materials for construction and building. In this review, the structural characteristics, and the biological role of Posidonia oceanica egagropili are described, as well as their applications in different fields as reported in scientific papers published in recent years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Bio-Based Materials from Renewable Sources)
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