Special Issue "Sustainable Bio-Based Polymers: Towards a Circular Bioeconomy"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. José Alejandro Heredia-Guerrero

Guest Editor
Departamento de Biología Molecular y Bioquímica, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, 29071, Spain
Interests: bio-based polymers; bioplastics; plant cuticle; agro-wastes; sustainability; food packaging
Dr. Susana Guzman-Puyol

Guest Editor
Departamento de Biología Molecular y Bioquímica, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, 29071, Spain
Interests: cellulose; bioplastics; circular economy; composites; biodegradability
Dr. José Jesús Benítez

Guest Editor
Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Sevilla, Centro mixto CSIC-Universidad de Sevilla, Americo Vespucio 49, Isla de la Cartuja, Sevilla, 41092, Spain
Interests: polyesters; cutin; self-assembly; atomic force microscopy; polymers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The ubiquity of non-biodegradable petroleum-based plastics in the massive production of commodities in a linear economy context (i.e., the “take, make, and dispose” model) is one of the most important sources of global pollution. Moreover, the imminent dwindling of fossil resources, the contamination derived from monomer synthesis and large-scale production, as well as important concerns about the safety of these plastics in specific applications are increasing social alarm regarding their common use. Such social concern is driving greener and stricter market policies and legal regulations concerning sustainability. Among them, the idea of a circular bioeconomy is presented as a viable and desirable solution. In particular, the use of by-products and wastes from agriculture, food, forestry, fishery, etc., to produce functional polymers is of special interest.

In this Special Issue, we aim to publish original works and reviews about processes and technologies for the fabrication and synthesis of sustainable bio-based polymers and their industrial applications such as food packaging, biomedical devices, textiles, membranes, etc., in terms of a circular bioeconomy. Investigations about the life-cycle analysis of bio-based polymers are also included.

Dr. José Alejandro Heredia-Guerrero
Dr. Susana Guzman-Puyol
Dr. José Jesús Benitez
Guest Editors

Keywords

  • bio-based polymers
  • sustainability
  • circular bioeconomy
  • polymeric materials
  • life cycle analysis

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
A Facile Fabrication of Biodegradable and Biocompatible Cross-Linked Gelatin as Screen Printing Substrates
Polymers 2020, 12(5), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12051186 - 22 May 2020
Abstract
This study focuses on preparation and valuation of the biodegradable, native, and modified gelatin film as screen-printing substrates. Modified gelatin film was prepared by crosslinking with various crosslinking agents and the electrode array was designed by screen-printing. It was observed that the swelling [...] Read more.
This study focuses on preparation and valuation of the biodegradable, native, and modified gelatin film as screen-printing substrates. Modified gelatin film was prepared by crosslinking with various crosslinking agents and the electrode array was designed by screen-printing. It was observed that the swelling ratio of C-2, crosslinked with glutaraldehyde and EDC/NHS (1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide/N-hydroxysuccinimide) was found to be lower (3.98%) than that of C-1 (crosslinked with only glutaraldehyde) (8.77%) and C-0 (without crosslinking) (28.15%). The obtained results indicate that the swelling ratios of both C-1 and C-2 were found to be lower than that of C-0 (control one without crosslinking). The Young’s modulus for C-1 and C-2 was found to be 8.55 ± 0.57 and 23.72 ± 2.04 kPa, respectively. Hence, it was conveyed that the mechanical strength of C-2 was found to be two times higher than that of C-l, suggesting that the mechanical strength was enhanced upon dual crosslinking in this study also. The adhesion study indicates that silver ink adhesion on the gelation surface is better than that of carbon ink. In addition, the electrical response of C-2 with a screen-printed electrode (SPE) was found to be the same as the commercial polycarbonate (PC) substrate. The result of MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) assay suggested that the silver SPE on C-2 was non-cytotoxic toward L929 fibroblast cells proliferation. The results indicated that C-2 gelatin is a promising material to act as a screen-printing substrate with excellent biodegradable and biocompatible properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Bio-Based Polymers: Towards a Circular Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle
Bio-Based Coatings for Food Metal Packaging Inspired in Biopolyester Plant Cutin
Polymers 2020, 12(4), 942; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12040942 - 18 Apr 2020
Abstract
Metals used for food canning such as aluminum (Al), chromium-coated tin-free steel (TFS) and electrochemically tin-plated steel (ETP) were coated with a 2–3-µm-thick layer of polyaleuritate, the polyester resulting from the self-esterification of naturally-occurring 9,10,16-trihydroxyhexadecanoic (aleuritic) acid. The kinetic of the esterification was [...] Read more.
Metals used for food canning such as aluminum (Al), chromium-coated tin-free steel (TFS) and electrochemically tin-plated steel (ETP) were coated with a 2–3-µm-thick layer of polyaleuritate, the polyester resulting from the self-esterification of naturally-occurring 9,10,16-trihydroxyhexadecanoic (aleuritic) acid. The kinetic of the esterification was studied by FTIR spectroscopy; additionally, the catalytic activity of the surface layer of chromium oxide on TFS and, in particular, of tin oxide on ETP, was established. The texture, gloss and wettability of coatings were characterized by AFM, UV-Vis total reflectance and static water contact angle (WCA) measurements. The resistance of the coatings to solvents was also determined and related to the fraction of unreacted polyhydroxyacid. The occurrence of an oxidative diol cleavage reaction upon preparation in air induced a structural modification of the polyaleuritate layer and conferred upon it thermal stability and resistance to solvents. The promoting effect of the tin oxide layer in such an oxidative cleavage process fosters the potential of this methodology for the design of effective long-chain polyhydroxyester coatings on ETP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Bio-Based Polymers: Towards a Circular Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle
A Deeper Microscopic Study of the Interaction between Gum Rosin Derivatives and a Mater-Bi Type Bioplastic
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010226 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The interaction between gum rosin and gum rosin derivatives with Mater-Bi type bioplastic, a biodegradable and compostable commercial bioplastic, were studied. Gum rosin and two pentaerythritol esters of gum rosin (Lurefor 125 resin and Unik Tack P100 resin) were assessed as sustainable compatibilizers [...] Read more.
The interaction between gum rosin and gum rosin derivatives with Mater-Bi type bioplastic, a biodegradable and compostable commercial bioplastic, were studied. Gum rosin and two pentaerythritol esters of gum rosin (Lurefor 125 resin and Unik Tack P100 resin) were assessed as sustainable compatibilizers for the components of Mater-Bi® NF 866 polymeric matrix. To study the influence of each additive in the polymeric matrix, each gum rosin-based additive was compounded in 15 wt % by melt-extrusion and further injection molding process. Then, the mechanical properties were assessed, and the tensile properties and impact resistance were determined. Microscopic analyses were carried out by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and atomic force microscopy with nanomechanical assessment (AFM-QNM). The oxygen barrier and wettability properties were also assayed. The study revealed that the commercial thermoplastic starch is mainly composed of three phases: A polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT) phase, an amorphous phase of thermoplastic starch (TPSa), and a semi-crystalline phase of thermoplastic starch (TPSc). The poor miscibility among the components of the Mater-Bi type bioplastic was confirmed. Finally, the formulations with the gum rosin and its derivatives showed an improvement of the miscibility and the solubility of the components depending on the additive used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Bio-Based Polymers: Towards a Circular Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation and Characterization of Bio-Based PLA/PBAT and Cinnamon Essential Oil Polymer Fibers and Life-Cycle Assessment from Hydrolytic Degradation
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010038 - 25 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Nowadays, the need to reduce the dependence on fuel products and to achieve a sustainable development is of special importance due to environmental concerns. Therefore, new alternatives must be sought. In this work, extruded fibers from poly (lactic acid) (PLA) and poly (butylene [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the need to reduce the dependence on fuel products and to achieve a sustainable development is of special importance due to environmental concerns. Therefore, new alternatives must be sought. In this work, extruded fibers from poly (lactic acid) (PLA) and poly (butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) added with cinnamon essential oil (CEO) were prepared and characterized, and the hydrolytic degradation was assessed. A two-phase system was observed with spherical particles of PBAT embedded in the PLA matrix. The thermal analysis showed partial miscibility between PLA and PBAT. Mechanically, Young’s modulus decreased and the elongation at break increased with the incorporation of PBAT and CEO into the blends. The variation in weight loss for the fibers was below 5% during the period of hydrolytic degradation studied with the most important changes at 37 °C and pH 8.50. From microscopy, the formation of cracks in the fiber surface was evidenced, especially for PLA fibers in alkaline medium at 37 °C. This study shows the importance of the variables that influence the performance of polyester-cinnamon essential oil-based fibers in agro-industrial applications for horticultural product preservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Bio-Based Polymers: Towards a Circular Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle
Kinetics and Chemorheological Analysis of Cross-Linking Reactions in Humins
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1804; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111804 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Humins is a biomass-derived material, co-product of the acid-catalyzed conversion of cellulose and hemicellulose to platform chemicals. This work presents a thorough study concerning the crosslinking kinetics of humins by chemorheological analysis and model-free kinetics under isothermal and non-isothermal curing. Humins can auto-crosslink [...] Read more.
Humins is a biomass-derived material, co-product of the acid-catalyzed conversion of cellulose and hemicellulose to platform chemicals. This work presents a thorough study concerning the crosslinking kinetics of humins by chemorheological analysis and model-free kinetics under isothermal and non-isothermal curing. Humins can auto-crosslink under the effect of temperature, and the reaction can be fastener when adding an acidic initiator. Thus, the effect of P-Toluenesulfonic acid monohydrate (pTSA) on the crosslinking kinetics was also studied. The dependencies of the effective activation energy (Eα-dependencies) were determined by an advanced isoconversional method and correlated with the variation of complex viscosity during curing. It is shown that humins curing involves multi-step complex reactions and that the use of an acidic initiator allows faster crosslinking at lower temperatures, involving lower Eα. The shift from chemical to diffusion control was also estimated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Bio-Based Polymers: Towards a Circular Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Mean Intrinsic Flexural Strength and Coupling Factor of Natural Fiber Reinforcement in Polylactic Acid Biocomposites
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1736; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111736 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper is focused on the flexural properties of bleached kraft softwood fibers, bio-based, biodegradable, and a globally available reinforcement commonly used in papermaking, of reinforced polylactic acid (PLA) composites. The matrix, polylactic acid, is also a bio-based and biodegradable polymer. Flexural properties [...] Read more.
This paper is focused on the flexural properties of bleached kraft softwood fibers, bio-based, biodegradable, and a globally available reinforcement commonly used in papermaking, of reinforced polylactic acid (PLA) composites. The matrix, polylactic acid, is also a bio-based and biodegradable polymer. Flexural properties of composites incorporating percentages of reinforcement ranging from 15 to 30 wt % were measured and discussed. Another objective was to evaluate the strength of the interface between the matrix and the reinforcements, using the rule of mixtures to determine the coupling factor. Nonetheless, this rule of mixtures presents two unknowns, the coupling factor and the intrinsic flexural strength of the reinforcement. Hence, applying a ratio between the tensile and flexural intrinsic strengths and a defined fiber tensile and flexural strength factors, derived from the rule of mixtures is proposed. The literature lacks a precise evaluation of the intrinsic tensile strength of the reinforcements. In order to obtain such intrinsic tensile strength, we used the Kelly and Tyson modified equation as well as the solution provided by Bowyer and Bader. Finally, we were able to characterize the intrinsic flexural strengths of the fibers when used as reinforcement of polylactic acid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Bio-Based Polymers: Towards a Circular Bioeconomy)
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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. Akram Zamani, et al.
    Department of Resource Recovery and Building Technology, University of Boras, Sweden
    Using orange and apple waste for production of bioplastics materials.
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