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Special Issue "Biopolymer Composites 2019"

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 (25 November 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maria Cristina Righetti
Website
Guest Editor
CNR-IPCF, National Research Council—Institute for Chemical and Physical Processes, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: polymeric materials; phase transitions; crystallization and melting; relaxations; physical ageing; thermal properties; mechanical and viscoelastic properties; interphases; morphology; composites; nanocomposites
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Patrizia Cinelli
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, University of Pisa, 56122 Pisa, Italy
Interests: materials science; biopolymers; bioplastics; bio-composites; sustainability; biodegradation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nowadays, academic and industrial research on polymers is strongly oriented towards the study and development of bio-based alternatives to petroleum-derived plastics, aimed at saving the environment with improved sustainability, and even producing materials with enhanced properties for advanced applications.

Bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers (biopolymers) represent an important response to this request, although generally they present poor mechanical properties, restricted processing conditions, and limited end-use applications. In order to overcome these drawbacks, reinforcement with fillers or nanofillers has been widely utilized and investigated.

Biocomposites are a special class of composite materials, obtained by blending biopolymers with natural fibers and/or agro-food by-products and wastes. Biocomposites represent an ecological and low-cost alternative to conventional petroleum-derived materials, offering an additional wide variety of advantages, such as renewability, low density, and biodegradability.

This Special Issue aims to collect original full papers and/or reviews covering all the aspects related to the preparation and processing of biopolymer composites, including physical and chemical treatments utilized to improve the final performances of the materials, such as, for example, compatibilization, functionalization, and coating. In addition, topics of primary interest include the study of the physical, thermal, mechanical, viscoelastic, and morphological properties of biopolymer composites, as well as investigations of biodegradation kinetics and the analysis of possible applications.

Prof. Dr. Maria Cristina Righetti
Prof. Dr. Patrizia Cinell
Guest Editor

Related Special Issue "Synthesis and Applications of Biopolymer Composites"

https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijms/special_issues/Biopolymer_Composites

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
  • Biocomposites
  • Natural fibres
  • Agri-food waste materials
  • Biodegradability
  • Processing
  • Interface/interphase modification
  • Compatibilization
  • Polymer and fibre modification and functionalization
  • Morphology and phase structure
  • Thermal, mechanical, viscoelastic, and morphological characterization

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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 1
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)
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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)
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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)
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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 6
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)
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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 5
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)
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