Special Issue "Bio-Based and Biodegradable Plastics: From Passive Barrier to Active Packaging Behavior"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 February 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Alexey Iordanskii
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics, Moscow., Russia
Interests: Barrier polymers; active packaging; diffusion; permeability; bio-based and biodegradable polymers; biocomposites; electrospinning; food and cosmetic applications
Prof. Dr. Nadia Lotti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
DICAM University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Interests: polyesters; synthesis; chemical modification; thermal properties; mechanical properties; barrier properties; biodegradability; packaging; tissue engineering; controlled nanodrug delivery systems
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Michelina Soccio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Chimica, Ambientale e dei Materiali Viale del Risorgimento 2, Bologna
Interests: polymers; polyesters; biopolymers; copolymers; soft tissue engineering; food packaging; polymer crystallization; polymer dynamics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the few coming decades, bio-based and biodegradable plastics produced from sustainable bioresources should essentially substitute the prevalent synthetic plastics produced from exhaustible hydrocarbon fossils. To the greatest extent, this revolutionary trend has to be applied to the packaging manufacturing area, and especially to food packaging implementation.

Currently, polymer packaging wastes that cannot be decomposed in an eco-friendly manner at landfill sites generate a series of severe environmental challenges. In spite of the urgent need to use bioplastics, their global production capacity is in fact rather limited and in 2018 amounted to 2.1 million tons, i.e., less than 1% of total polymer production. Biodegradable plastics are produced in even smaller quantities, about 0.9 MT, but in accordance with the prognosis of European Bioplastics Nova Institute, in the next 5 years, their manufacturing will grow by ~45% and approach 1.3 MT annually. To supply rapid production, an increment of biodegradable plastics could provide the effective development of scientific–technical potential that promotes the comprehensive exploration of their structural, functional, and dynamic characteristics.

In this regard, the transition from passive barrier materials preventing water and oxygen transport as well as bacteria infiltration to active functional packaging that provides gas diffusion selectivity, antiseptics’ and other modifiers’ release, quality food indicators, temperature sensors, etc. should be based on thorough study of biopolymer crystallinity, morphology, diffusivity, active agent release, and controlled biodegradability. The last process includes biopolymer degradation prevention to enhance food packaging shelf-life and, in landfill sites, the acceleration of decomposition rate after end-of-life approaching.

In this Special Issue, we aspire to collect reasonable and comprehensive findings regarding structure and functionality of bio-based sustainable polymers performing as multifaceted barrier and active packaging in food, cosmetic, and other areas. The content of the collection will cover diverse fields of knowledge embracing polymer chemistry, microbiology, biotechnology, chemical engineering, materials science, physical–chemical characterizations, transport–diffusion phenomena, controlled release, biodegradation exploring, and others.

Prof. Dr. Alexey Iordanskii
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

  • barrier polymers
  • active packaging
  • diffusion
  • permeability
  • bio-based and biodegradable polymers
  • biocomposites
  • electrospinning
  • food and cosmetic applications

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Effect of Natural Rubber in Polyethylene Composites on Morphology, Mechanical Properties and Biodegradability
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020437 (registering DOI) - 13 Feb 2020
Abstract
Compounding natural additives with synthetic polymers allows developing more eco-friendly materials with enhanced biodegradability. The composite films based on low-density polyethylene (PE) with different content of natural rubber (NR) (10–30 wt%) were investigated. The influence of NR content on structural features, water absorption [...] Read more.
Compounding natural additives with synthetic polymers allows developing more eco-friendly materials with enhanced biodegradability. The composite films based on low-density polyethylene (PE) with different content of natural rubber (NR) (10–30 wt%) were investigated. The influence of NR content on structural features, water absorption and mechanical properties of the composites were studied. The 70PE/30NR composite is characterized by the uniform distribution and the smallest size of NR domains (45 ± 5 μm). A tensile test was satisfied by the mechanical properties of the biocomposites, caused by elasticity of NR domains. The tensile strength of 70PE/30NR composite film is 5 ± 0.25 MPa. Higher water absorption of PE/NR composites (1.5–3.7 wt%) compared to neat PE facilitates penetrating vital activity products of microorganisms. Mycological test with mold fungi and full-scale soil test detected the composite with 30 wt% of NR as the most biodegradable (mass loss was 7.2 wt% for 90 days). According to infrared spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry analysis, NR consumption and PE structural changes in the biocomposites after exposure to soil occurred. The PE/NR composites with enhanced biodegradability as well as satisfied mechanical and technological properties have potential applications in packaging and agricultural films. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Application of LCA Method for Assessment of Environmental Impacts of a Polylactide (PLA) Bottle Shaping
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020388 - 09 Feb 2020
Abstract
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the consumption of single-use packaging. Their material diversity is a significant barrier to recycling, causing overloading of landfills. Increasing negative environmental aspects have highlighted the need to develop solutions to achieve a relatively [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the consumption of single-use packaging. Their material diversity is a significant barrier to recycling, causing overloading of landfills. Increasing negative environmental aspects have highlighted the need to develop solutions to achieve a relatively high efficiency of the bottle shaping process with the lowest possible energy consumption. The aim of the project is to try to describe the impact of this process on the state, transformation and development of the natural environment. The work concerns current issues of the impact of packaging on the natural environment. The main goal was to conduct a life cycle analysis (LCA) of beverage bottles made of polylactide. The functional unit comprised a total of 1,000 pieces of PLA bottles with a capacity of 1 L. The boundary of the adopted system included the steps from the delivery of the preforms to the production plant to their correct formation in the process of forming beverage bottles. Further stages of the production process were excluded from the system, such as beverage bottling, labeling, and storage and distribution. Processes related to transport and storage of raw material were also excluded. The LCA analysis was performed using the program of the Dutch company Pre Consultants called SimaPro 8.4.0. The ReCiPe 2016 method was chosen for the interpretation of the quantity of emitted substances into the natural environment. The test results were presented graphically on bar charts and subjected to verification and interpretation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water Vapor Permeability through Porous Polymeric Membranes with Various Hydrophilicity as Synthetic and Natural Barriers
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020282 - 01 Feb 2020
Abstract
The article is devoted to the analysis of sorption kinetics, permeability, and diffusion of water vapor in porous polymeric membranes of different hydrophilicities and through-porosities. The water transport measurement with a constant gradient of partial pressure allows the authors to obtain reliable characteristics [...] Read more.
The article is devoted to the analysis of sorption kinetics, permeability, and diffusion of water vapor in porous polymeric membranes of different hydrophilicities and through-porosities. The water transport measurement with a constant gradient of partial pressure allows the authors to obtain reliable characteristics for porous membranes, films, artificial leathers, and fabrics of various chemical natures (synthetic and bio-based) and phase structures. All the kinetic permeability curves were determined and effective diffusion coefficients, as well as their apparent activation energies, were calculated at the stationary and non-stationary stages of the mass transfer. The relationship between the sorption–diffusion characteristics of the polymer barriers and their vapor permeability is traced. Within the framework of a Zolotarev–Dubinin dual dispersive model, an analytical equation is obtained that relates permeability to diffusion coefficients of water vapor in the pore volume, polymer skeleton material using such characteristics as porosity and the solubility coefficient. It is proposed to use this equation to predict the sorption properties for barrier and porous materials of complex architecture specifically in food packaging. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Research of the Influence of the Ultrasonic Treatment on the Melts of the Polymeric Compositions for the Creation of Packaging Materials with Antimicrobial Properties and Biodegrability
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020275 - 30 Jan 2020
Abstract
Ensuring the microbiological safety of food products is a problem of current interest. The use of antimicrobial packaging materials is a way of solving the problem. When developing packaging materials, it is advisable to use a modern approach based on the creation of [...] Read more.
Ensuring the microbiological safety of food products is a problem of current interest. The use of antimicrobial packaging materials is a way of solving the problem. When developing packaging materials, it is advisable to use a modern approach based on the creation of biodegradable materials. The difficulty in the selection of the polymer compositions’ components lies in solving the dilemma of the joint introduction and processing of antimicrobial and biodegradable agents. The studies of the ultrasound treatment on the melts of polymer mixtures showed an increase in the dispersion process of the components of the mixture. In this regard, this work aimed to study the effect of the ultrasonic treatment on the melts of polymer compositions containing thermoplastic starch and birch bark extract (BBE). In the work, the properties of PE-based packaging materials with various BBE concentrations obtained with ultrasonic treatment of melts on a laboratory extruder were studied. Biodegradable polymer compositions containing thermoplastic starch and BBE, obtained with the use of the ultrasonic treatment during extrusion, were investigated. The methods for studying rheological, physic-mechanical, antimicrobial properties and sanitary chemical indicators of materials were used in the article. It was found that ultrasonic treatment increases the melt flow and contributes to the production of materials with the uniform distribution of additives. The BBE content from 1.0% and higher in the contents of the material provides antimicrobial properties. When studying the permeability of oxygen and water vapor of the polymer compositions based on PE and BBE, it was found that the introduction of a filler increases vapor permeability by about 8–12% compared with control samples. The optimal concentration of BBE in polyethylene compositions containing thermoplastic starch was determined. The extension of the shelf life of the food product during storage in the developed material was established. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On the Use of Gallic Acid as a Potential Natural Antioxidant and Ultraviolet Light Stabilizer in Cast-Extruded Bio-Based High-Density Polyethylene Films
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010031 - 23 Dec 2019
Abstract
This study originally explores the use of gallic acid (GA) as a natural additive in bio-based high-density polyethylene (bio-HDPE) formulations. Thus, bio-HDPE was first melt-compounded with two different loadings of GA, namely 0.3 and 0.8 parts per hundred resin (phr) of biopolymer, by [...] Read more.
This study originally explores the use of gallic acid (GA) as a natural additive in bio-based high-density polyethylene (bio-HDPE) formulations. Thus, bio-HDPE was first melt-compounded with two different loadings of GA, namely 0.3 and 0.8 parts per hundred resin (phr) of biopolymer, by twin-screw extrusion and thereafter shaped into films using a cast-roll machine. The resultant bio-HDPE films containing GA were characterized in terms of their mechanical, morphological, and thermal performance as well as ultraviolet (UV) light stability to evaluate their potential application in food packaging. The incorporation of 0.3 and 0.8 phr of GA reduced the mechanical ductility and crystallinity of bio-HDPE, but it positively contributed to delaying the onset oxidation temperature (OOT) by 36.5 °C and nearly 44 °C, respectively. Moreover, the oxidation induction time (OIT) of bio-HDPE, measured at 210 °C, was delayed for up to approximately 56 and 240 min, respectively. Furthermore, the UV light stability of the bio-HDPE films was remarkably improved, remaining stable for an exposure time of 10 h even at the lowest GA content. The addition of the natural antioxidant slightly induced a yellow color in the bio-HDPE films and it also reduced their transparency, although a high contact transparency level was maintained. This property can be desirable in some packaging materials for light protection, especially UV radiation, which causes lipid oxidation in food products. Therefore, GA can successfully improve the thermal resistance and UV light stability of green polyolefins and will potentially promote the use of natural additives for sustainable food packaging applications. Full article
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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.

1. Prof. DSc. (Chemistry) Irina A. Kirsh    Moscow State University of Food Production. 
A review about food packages

2. DCS. (Chemistry) Anna A. Shcherbina  D.Mendeleev State University of Chemical Technology (Moscow).
Biobased food packages for milks

3. Prof. Ph.D. Sergey V. Fomin. Vyatka State University; Institute of Chemistry and Ecology (Kirov)
Advance Polyester films in food engineering

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