Special Issue "Biopolymers from Renewable Sources and Their Applications"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Farayde Matta Fakhouri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC BarcelonaTech), 08222 Terrassa, Spain
Interests: biopolymers; biocomposites; starch; agro-wastes; food packaging
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. José Ignacio Velasco
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Poly2 Group, Technical University of Catalonia (UPC BarcelonaTech), ESEIAAT, C/Colom 11, 08222 Terrassa, Spain
Interests: polymers; composites; foams; nanocomposites
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The implementation of circular economy systems and the increasing focus on minimizing the disposal of non-biodegradable materials deliver significant benefits to the environment such as the preservation of fossil raw materials, reduction of landfill waste, and reduction of CO2 emissions. It also increases the need to constantly investigate new and innovative ways to use materials from renewable sources.

In this context, research for the development of materials from renewable sources like lipids, plant-based proteins (zein, soy, pea, gluten), animal-based proteins (gelatine, whey, casein), and polysaccharides (starch, chitosan, sodium alginate, pectin, gums) has grown significantly in recent years.

Some of these environmental-friendly materials can be used to develop flexible films, rigid sheets, and foams. They can also be processed into edible systems, such as coatings. In addition to being edible, these can also carry antimicrobial and antioxidant functionalities through the addition of bioactive compounds, extending their application to the preparation of bioactive and biodegradable films, foams, and packaging.

This Special Issue will present the most recent research works and reviews dedicated to polymers from renewable sources and their potential applications in the short and long-term.

Prof. Farayde Matta Fakhouri
Prof. Dr. José Ignacio Velasco
Guest Editors

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. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). 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

  • Biodegradable packaging
  • active packaging
  • bioactive compounds
  • agricultural products
  • food packaging
  • biodegradable foams
  • edible films and edible coatings

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Production of Edible Films Based on Pea Starch with Incorporation of Active Compounds Obtained from the Purple Araçá (Psidium myrtoides)
Polymers 2021, 13(18), 3134; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13183134 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 321
Abstract
The aim of this study was to incorporate the active compounds present in purple araçá (Psidium myrtoides) in pea starch-based films and to verify the influence of different plasticizers (glycerol, sorbitol, and polyethylene glycol 400) on film properties. Films were produced [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to incorporate the active compounds present in purple araçá (Psidium myrtoides) in pea starch-based films and to verify the influence of different plasticizers (glycerol, sorbitol, and polyethylene glycol 400) on film properties. Films were produced and characterized in relation to visual appearance, active compounds, antimicrobial activity, and mechanical and barrier properties. Pea starch has a high amylose content and a final viscosity of 5371.5 RVU, which contributes to the elaboration of films even without the addition of plasticizers. Purple araçá and pea starch formed films with good water vapor barrier characteristics (0.398 g·mm/m2·h·KPa) and low solubility (33.30%). Among plasticizers, sorbitol promoted a lower permeability to water vapor. The selected formulations, 0%, 20%, and 30% sorbitol, presented a high concentration of phenolic compounds (1194.55, 1115.47, and 1042.10 mg GAE 100 g−1, respectively) and were able to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. Therefore, films contained the active compounds of purple araçá and potential to be used as food packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers from Renewable Sources and Their Applications)
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Article
Feasibility of Using Carvacrol/Starch Edible Coatings to Improve the Quality of Paipa Cheese
Polymers 2021, 13(15), 2516; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13152516 - 30 Jul 2021
Viewed by 348
Abstract
Paipa cheese is the only Colombian semi-ripened cheese with protected geographical indication. In the current work, the effect of applying starch coatings carrying carvacrol on Paipa cheeses was analyzed. Coatings were prepared based on blends of potato starch (2 g/100 g), carvacrol (0.1 [...] Read more.
Paipa cheese is the only Colombian semi-ripened cheese with protected geographical indication. In the current work, the effect of applying starch coatings carrying carvacrol on Paipa cheeses was analyzed. Coatings were prepared based on blends of potato starch (2 g/100 g), carvacrol (0.1 g/100 g), polysorbate 80, glycerol, and water and applied to the cheese’s surface by brushing. Uncoated cheeses were also analyzed for comparison. Moreover, films were prepared and characterized in terms of their moisture content, water vapor permeability, mechanical properties, transparency, water solubility, swelling (%), and antioxidant activity. Carvacrol/starch films showed a slight decrease in their water solubility and Young’s modulus, while not significant changes were observed in water vapor permeability, moisture content, transparency, and swelling behavior, in comparison with the starch films. After application on the Paipa cheeses, the carvacrol/starch coatings enhanced the brightness of the cheeses without causing significant changes in water activity, moisture content, color attributes, and mesophilic aerobic bacteria and molds/yeasts count. Moreover, edible coatings have a significant effect on the hardness, the gumminess, the springiness, and the chewiness of the Paipa cheese. Coated cheeses were better preserved at day 60 of storage because they did not show changes in their lightness, hardness, and springiness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers from Renewable Sources and Their Applications)
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Article
Polysaccharide Derived from Nelumbo nucifera Lotus Plumule Shows Potential Prebiotic Activity and Ameliorates Insulin Resistance in HepG2 Cells
Polymers 2021, 13(11), 1780; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13111780 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 730
Abstract
Polysaccharides are key bioactive compounds in lotus plumule tea, but their anti-diabetes activities remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prebiotic activities of a novel polysaccharide fraction from the Nelumbo nucifera lotus plumule, and to examine its regulation of [...] Read more.
Polysaccharides are key bioactive compounds in lotus plumule tea, but their anti-diabetes activities remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prebiotic activities of a novel polysaccharide fraction from the Nelumbo nucifera lotus plumule, and to examine its regulation of glucose metabolism in insulin-resistant HepG2 cells. The N. nucifera polysaccharide (NNP) was purified after discoloration, hot water extraction, ethanol precipitation, and DEAE-cellulose chromatography to obtain purified polysaccharide fractions (NNP-2). Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to analyze the main structural characteristics and functional group of NNP-2. Physicochemical characterization indicated that NNP-2 had a molecular weight of 110.47 kDa and consisted of xylose, glucose, fructose, galactose, and fucose in a molar ratio of 33.4:25.7:22.0:10.5:8.1. The prebiotic activity of NNP-2 was demonstrated in vitro using Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Furthermore, NNP-2 showed bioactivity against α-glucosidase (IC50 = 97.32 µg/mL). High glucose-induced insulin-resistant HepG2 cells were used to study the effect of NNP-2 on glucose consumption, and the molecular mechanism of the insulin transduction pathway was studied using RT-qPCR. NNP-2 could improve insulin resistance by modulating the IRS1/PI3K/Akt pathway in insulin-resistant HepG2 cells. Our data demonstrated that the Nelumbo nucifera polysaccharides are potential sources for nutraceuticals, and we propose functional food developments from the bioactive polysaccharides of N. nucifera for the management of diabetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers from Renewable Sources and Their Applications)
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Article
Biosynthesized Poly(3-Hydroxybutyrate) on Coated Pineapple Leaf Fiber Papers for Biodegradable Packaging Application
Polymers 2021, 13(11), 1733; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13111733 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
This paper is aimed at investigating the usage of biosynthesized poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (P(3-HB)) for a coating on pineapple leaf fiber paper (PLFP). For this purpose, (P(3-HB)) was produced by Rhodococcus pyridinivorans BSRT1-1, a highly potential P(3-HB) producing bacterium, with a weight-average molecular weight ( [...] Read more.
This paper is aimed at investigating the usage of biosynthesized poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (P(3-HB)) for a coating on pineapple leaf fiber paper (PLFP). For this purpose, (P(3-HB)) was produced by Rhodococcus pyridinivorans BSRT1-1, a highly potential P(3-HB) producing bacterium, with a weight-average molecular weight (Mw) of 6.07 × 10 −5 g/mol. This biosynthesized P(3-HB) at 7.5% (w/v) was then coated on PLFP through the dip-coating technique with chloroform used as a solvent. The respective coated PLFP showed that P(3-HB) could be well coated all over on the PLFP surface as confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The brightness and mechanical properties of PLFP could be improved by coating with biosynthesized P(3-HB) in comparison to commercially available P(3-HB) and non-coated PLFP. Furthermore, coating of P(3-HB) significantly increased the water drop penetration time on the surface of PLFP and was similar to that of the commercial P(3-HB) with the same content. The results showed that all the coated PLPF samples can be degraded under the soil burial test conditions. We have demonstrated that the P(3-HB) coated PLFP paper has the ability to prevent water drop penetration and could undergo biodegradation. Taken together, the P(3-HB) coated PLFP can be applied as a promising biodegradable paper packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers from Renewable Sources and Their Applications)
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Article
Isolation of Chitin from Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) and Its Usage to Metal Sorption
Polymers 2021, 13(5), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13050818 - 07 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1028
Abstract
Chitin has become a desirable raw material used in various areas of life. The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) can be a source of this substance. In the literature, there are many methods of obtaining chitin but there is no one [...] Read more.
Chitin has become a desirable raw material used in various areas of life. The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) can be a source of this substance. In the literature, there are many methods of obtaining chitin but there is no one universal method of isolating it. In this publication, we present various procedures for the isolation of chitin from H. illucens pupal exuviae. The obtained chitin variants were characterized using different techniques (optical and confocal microscopy, FTIR, XRD, EDX, thermogravimetric analysis). The tested chitin isolated with an efficiency of 5.69–7.95% was the α form with a crystallinity degree of 60% and maximum degradation temperature of 392 °C. Furthermore, we characterized the nickel ion biosorption process on chitin and proposed the mechanism of this process to be ion exchange and complexation. There have been no such studies thus far on the isolation of chitin from H. illucens exuviae or on the biosorption of nickel ions on this type of biosorbent. The conducted research can be used to develop the application of chitin as a metal biosorbent that can be obtained with relatively high efficiency and good sorption properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers from Renewable Sources and Their Applications)
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Review

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Review
Approaches in Animal Proteins and Natural Polysaccharides Application for Food Packaging: Edible Film Production and Quality Estimation
Polymers 2021, 13(10), 1592; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13101592 - 15 May 2021
Viewed by 798
Abstract
Natural biopolymers are an interesting resource for edible films production, as they are environmentally friendly packaging materials. The possibilities of the application of main animal proteins and natural polysaccharides are considered in the review, including the sources, structure, and limitations of usage. The [...] Read more.
Natural biopolymers are an interesting resource for edible films production, as they are environmentally friendly packaging materials. The possibilities of the application of main animal proteins and natural polysaccharides are considered in the review, including the sources, structure, and limitations of usage. The main ways for overcoming the limitations caused by the physico-chemical properties of biopolymers are also discussed, including composites approaches, plasticizers, and the addition of crosslinking agents. Approaches for the production of biopolymer-based films and coatings are classified according to wet and dried processes and considered depending on biopolymer types. The methods for mechanical, physico-chemical, hydration, and uniformity estimation of edible films are reviewed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers from Renewable Sources and Their Applications)
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Review
State of the Art and New Directions on Electrospun Lignin/Cellulose Nanofibers for Supercapacitor Application: A Systematic Literature Review
Polymers 2020, 12(12), 2884; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12122884 - 01 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1174
Abstract
Supercapacitors are energy storage devices with high power density, rapid charge/discharge rate, and excellent cycle stability. Carbon-based supercapacitors are increasingly attracting attention because of their large surface area and high porosity. Carbon-based materials research has been recently centered on biomass-based materials due to [...] Read more.
Supercapacitors are energy storage devices with high power density, rapid charge/discharge rate, and excellent cycle stability. Carbon-based supercapacitors are increasingly attracting attention because of their large surface area and high porosity. Carbon-based materials research has been recently centered on biomass-based materials due to the rising need to maintain a sustainable environment. Cellulose and lignin constitute the major components of lignocellulose biomass. Since they are renewable, sustainable, and readily accessible, lignin and cellulose-based supercapacitors are economically viable and environmentally friendly. This review aims to systematically analyze published research findings on electrospun lignin, cellulose, and lignin/cellulose nanofibers for use as supercapacitor electrode materials. A rigorous scientific approach was employed to screen the eligibility of relevant articles to be included in this study. The research questions and the inclusion criteria were clearly defined. The included articles were used to draw up the research framework and develop coherent taxonomy of literature. Taxonomy of research literature generated from the included articles was classified into review papers, electrospun lignin, cellulose, and lignin/cellulose nanofibers for use as supercapacitor electrode materials. Furthermore, challenges, recommendations, and research directions for future studies were equally discussed extensively. Before this study, no review on electrospun lignin/cellulose nanofiber-based supercapacitors has been reported. Thus, this systematic review will provide a reference for other researchers interested in developing biomass-based supercapacitors as an alternative to conventional supercapacitors based on petroleum products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers from Renewable Sources and Their Applications)
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Review
Lignin-Based Nanoparticles: A Review on Their Preparations and Applications
Polymers 2020, 12(11), 2471; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12112471 - 25 Oct 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1427
Abstract
Lignin is the most abundant by-product from the pulp and paper industry as well as the second most abundant natural renewable biopolymer after cellulose on earth. In recent years, transforming unordered and complicated lignin into ordered and uniform nanoparticles has attracted wide attention [...] Read more.
Lignin is the most abundant by-product from the pulp and paper industry as well as the second most abundant natural renewable biopolymer after cellulose on earth. In recent years, transforming unordered and complicated lignin into ordered and uniform nanoparticles has attracted wide attention due to their excellent properties such as controlled structures and sizes, better miscibility with polymers, and improved antioxidant activity. In this review, we first introduce five important technical lignin from different sources and then provide a comprehensive overview of the recent progress of preparation techniques which are involved in the fabrication of various lignin-based nanoparticles and their industrial applications in different fields such as drug delivery carriers, UV absorbents, hybrid nanocomposites, antioxidant agents, antibacterial agents, adsorbents for heavy metal ions and dyes, and anticorrosion nanofillers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers from Renewable Sources and Their Applications)
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