Special Issue "Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Analysis".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 February 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Valentina Siracusa
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

According to the data in the literature, the consumption of plastic-like polymers is exceeding an annual quantity of about 300 tons. Plastic-like polymers are employed in all fields and as special materials in biomedicine, membrane separation and the packaging industry, thanks to their low market cost and appropriate chemical–physical, mechanical and gas selectivity characteristics. In spite of these advantages, their industrial manufacturing is based on non-renewable fossil resources that are progressively depleting and, after their lifetime, they are accumulated as non-biodegradable wastes. Considering the environmental concerns, a switch towards renewable material resources should be taken into consideration to promote sustainable development. One possible solution is a stronger implementation of the use of eco-friendly polymer formulations, based on biopolymers. Biopolymers can offer attractive alternatives as long as their synthesis and characterization can be easily tailored for technological applications.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect the results concerning the synthesis and characterization of biopolymers in order to reach the perfect optimization of their properties for their potential application in every field of interest.

Prof. Valentina Siracusa
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. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1800 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

  • Biopolymers
  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Biopolyesters
  • Biomaterials
  • Structure–property relations
  • Gas barrier behavior
  • Synthesis of biopolymers
  • Characterization of biopolymers
  • Morphology of biopolymers
  • Functional properties of biopolymers
  • Eco-friendly materials

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Preparation and pH Controlled Release of Fe3O4/Anthocyanin Magnetic Biocomposites
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 2077; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11122077 - 12 Dec 2019
Abstract
Anthocyanins are a class of antioxidants extracted from plants, with a variety of biochemical and pharmacological properties. However, the wide and effective applications of anthocyanins have been limited by their relatively low stability and bioavailability. In order to expand the application of anthocyanins, [...] Read more.
Anthocyanins are a class of antioxidants extracted from plants, with a variety of biochemical and pharmacological properties. However, the wide and effective applications of anthocyanins have been limited by their relatively low stability and bioavailability. In order to expand the application of anthocyanins, Fe3O4/anthocyanin magnetic biocomposite was fabricated for the storage and release of anthocyanin in this work. The magnetic biocomposite of Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticle-loaded anthocyanin was prepared through physical intermolecular adsorption or covalent cross-linking. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Dynamic light scattering (DLS), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffractometry (XRD) and thermal analysis were used to characterize the biocomposite. In addition, the anthocyanin releasing experiments were performed. The optimized condition for the Fe3O4/anthocyanin magnetic biocomposite preparation was determined to be at 60 °C for 20 h in weak alkaline solution. The smooth surface of biocomposite from SEM suggested that anthocyanin was coated on the surface of the Fe3O4 particles successfully. The average size of the Fe3O4/anthocyanin magnetic biocomposite was about 222 nm. Under acidic conditions, the magnetic biocomposite solids could be repeatable released anthocyanin, with the same chemical structure as the anthocyanin before compounding. Therefore, anthocyanin can be effectively adsorbed and released by this magnetic biocomposite. Overall, this work shows that Fe3O4/anthocyanin magnetic biocomposite has great potential for future applications as a drug storage and delivery nanoplatform that is adaptable to medical, food and sensing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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Open AccessArticle
Study of the Influence of the Reprocessing Cycles on the Final Properties of Polylactide Pieces Obtained by Injection Molding
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 1908; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11121908 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
This research work aims to study the influence of the reprocessing cycles on the mechanical, thermal, and thermomechanical properties of polylactide (PLA). To this end, PLA was subjected to as many as six extrusion cycles and the resultant pellets were shaped into pieces [...] Read more.
This research work aims to study the influence of the reprocessing cycles on the mechanical, thermal, and thermomechanical properties of polylactide (PLA). To this end, PLA was subjected to as many as six extrusion cycles and the resultant pellets were shaped into pieces by injection molding. Mechanical characterization revealed that the PLA pieces presented relatively similar properties up to the third reprocessing cycle, whereas further cycles induced an intense reduction in ductility and toughness. The effect of the reprocessing cycles was also studied by the changes in the melt fluidity, which showed a significant increase after four reprocessing cycles. An increase in the bio-polyester chain mobility was also attained with the number of the reprocessing cycles that subsequently favored an increase in crystallinity of PLA. A visual inspection indicated that PLA developed certain yellowing and the pieces also became less transparent with the increasing number of reprocessing cycles. Therefore, the obtained results showed that PLA suffers a slight degradation after one or two reprocessing cycles whereas performance impairment becomes more evident above the fourth reprocessing cycle. This finding suggests that the mechanical recycling of PLA for up to three cycles of extrusion and subsequent injection molding is technically feasible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation and Properties of Chitosan/Graphene Modified Bamboo Fiber Fabrics
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101540 - 21 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Chitosan (CS) and graphene (Gr) were used to modify bamboo fiber fabrics to develop new bamboo fiber fabrics (CGBFs) with antimicrobial properties. The CGBFs were prepared by chemical crosslinking with CS as binder assistant and Gr as functional finishing agent. The method of [...] Read more.
Chitosan (CS) and graphene (Gr) were used to modify bamboo fiber fabrics to develop new bamboo fiber fabrics (CGBFs) with antimicrobial properties. The CGBFs were prepared by chemical crosslinking with CS as binder assistant and Gr as functional finishing agent. The method of firmly attaching the CS/Gr to bamboo fiber fabrics was explored. On the basis of the constant amount of CS, the best impregnation modification scheme was determined by changing the amount of Gr and evaluating the properties of the CS/Gr modified bamboo fiber fabrics. The results showed that the antibacterial rate of CGBFs with 0.3 wt% Gr was more than 99%, and compared with the control sample, the maximum tensile strength of CGBF increased by 1% in the longitudinal direction and 7.8% in the weft direction. The elongation at break increased by 2.2% in longitude and 57.3% in latitude. After 20 times of washing with WOB (without optical brightener) detergent solution, the antimicrobial rate can still be more than 70%. Therefore, these newly CS/Gr modified bamboo fiber fabrics hold great promise for antibacterial application in home decoration and clothing textiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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Open AccessArticle
Flame Retardancy and Mechanism of Novel Phosphorus-Silicon Flame Retardant Based on Polysilsesquioxane
Polymers 2019, 11(8), 1304; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11081304 - 04 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
A novel phosphorus-silicon flame retardant (P5PSQ) was prepared by bonding phosphate to silicon-based polysilsesquioxane (PSQ) and used as flame retardant of poly (lactic acid) (PLA). The results show that PLA with 10 wt % P5PSQ has a limiting oxygen [...] Read more.
A novel phosphorus-silicon flame retardant (P5PSQ) was prepared by bonding phosphate to silicon-based polysilsesquioxane (PSQ) and used as flame retardant of poly (lactic acid) (PLA). The results show that PLA with 10 wt % P5PSQ has a limiting oxygen index (LOI) 24.1%, the peak heat release rate (PHRR) and total heat release (THR) of PLA decrease 21.8% and 25.2% compared to neat PLA in cone calorimetric test, indicating that P5PSQ shows better flame retardancy in comparison to PSQ. Furthermore, the study for the morphology and composition of carbon residue after the combustion of PLA and the gas release of PLA during combustion illustrate that P5PSQ has flame retardancy in condensed phase and gas phase simultaneously. In condensed phase, phosphorus from phosphate promotes the formation of more stable and better carbon layer containing Si and P, which inhibits the transfer of heat and oxygen in the combustion. In gas phase, the phosphate in P5PSQ emits phosphorus-containing compound that can restrain the release of C–O containing products, which may have effective flame retardancy for PLA in gas phase to a certain extent. In one word, P5PSQ is denoted as a good phosphorus-silicon synergistic flame-retardant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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Open AccessArticle
Reinforcement of Bonding Strength and Water Resistance of Soybean Meal-Based Adhesive via Construction of an Interactive Network from Biomass Residues
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 967; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11060967 - 03 Jun 2019
Abstract
Soybean meal-based adhesives are attractive potential environmentally friendly replacements for formaldehyde-based adhesives. However, the low strength and poor water resistance of soybean meal-based adhesives limit their practical application. This study was conducted to develop a natural fiber-reinforced soybean meal-based adhesive with enhanced water [...] Read more.
Soybean meal-based adhesives are attractive potential environmentally friendly replacements for formaldehyde-based adhesives. However, the low strength and poor water resistance of soybean meal-based adhesives limit their practical application. This study was conducted to develop a natural fiber-reinforced soybean meal-based adhesive with enhanced water resistance and bonding strength. Pulp fiber (PF), poplar wood fiber (WF), and bagasse fiber (BF) were added as fillers into the soybean meal-based adhesive to enhance its performance via hydrogen bonding between the PF and the soybean meal system. The enhanced adhesive exhibited a strong crosslinking structure characterized by multi-interfacial interactions wherein PF served as a bridging ligament and released residual stress into the crosslinking network. The crosslinked structure and improved interfacial interactions were confirmed by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrophotometry, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) measurements. Plywood bonded with 4 wt % PF-containing soybean meal-based adhesive exhibited a wet shear strength (1.14 MPa) exceeding that of plywood bonded with the control group by 75.4% due to the stable crosslinking network having efficiently transformed stress and prevented the permeation of water molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Microbial Degradation of Synthetic Biopolymers Waste
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061066 - 20 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Over the last ten years, the demand of biodegradable polymers has grown at an annual rate of 20–30%. However, the market share is about less than 0.1% of the total plastic production due to their lower performances, higher price and limited legislative attention [...] Read more.
Over the last ten years, the demand of biodegradable polymers has grown at an annual rate of 20–30%. However, the market share is about less than 0.1% of the total plastic production due to their lower performances, higher price and limited legislative attention in respect to the standard materials. The biodegradability as a functional added property is often not completely perceived from the final consumers. However, the opportunity to use renewable resources and to reduce the dependency from petroleum resources could become an incentive to accelerate their future growth. Renewable raw materials, coming from industrial wastes such as oilseed crops, starch from cereals and potatoes, cellulose from straw and wood, etc., can be converted into chemical intermediates and polymers, in order to substitute fossil fuel feedstock. The introduction of these new products could represent a significant contribution to sustainable development. However, the use of renewable resources and the production of the bioplastics are no longer a guarantee for a minimal environmental impact. The production process as well as their technical performances and their ultimate disposal has to be carefully considered. Bioplastics are generally biodegradable, but the diffusion of the composting technology is a prerequisite for their development. Efforts are required at industry level in order to develop less expensive and high performance products, with minimal environmental impact technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Dr. Hengfei Qin

Tentative title: To be determined

Dr. Qingbao Guan

Tentative title: Preparation,characterization and application of Fe3O4/anthocyanin magnetic biocomposite

Dr. Albena Daskalova

Tentative title: Femtosecond laser assisted engineering of cell-instructive biomaterial surfaces

Dr. Li Fan

Tentative title: To be determined

Dr. Valentina Siracusa

Tentative title: Microbial Degradation of Synthetic Biopolymers Waste

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