(Bio)Degradable Polymeric Materials for Sustainable Future—Part 3: Degradation Studies of the PHA/Wood Flour-Based Composites and Preliminary Tests of Antimicrobial Activity
The need for a cost reduction of the materials derived from (bio)degradable polymers forces research development into the formation of biocomposites with cheaper fillers. As additives can be made using the post-consumer wood, generated during wood products processing, re-use of recycled waste materials in the production of biocomposites can be an environmentally friendly way to minimalize and/or utilize the amount of the solid waste. Also, bioactive materials, which possess small amounts of antimicrobial additives belong to a very attractive packaging industry solution. This paper presents a study into the biodegradation, under laboratory composting conditions, of the composites that consist of poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate)] and wood flour as a polymer matrix and natural filler, respectively. Thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry and scanning electron microscopy were used to evaluate the degradation progress of the obtained composites with different amounts of wood flour. The degradation products were characterized by multistage electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Also, preliminary tests of the antimicrobial activity of selected materials with the addition of nisin were performed. The obtained results suggest that the different amount of filler has a significant influence on the degradation profile.