Synthesis of Polylactic Acid Initiated through Biobased Antioxidants: Towards Intrinsically Active Food Packaging
Polylactide (PLA)-based polymers, functionalized with biobased antioxidants, were synthesized, to develop an intrinsically active, biobased and potentially biodegradable material for food packaging applications. To achieve this result, phenolic antioxidants were exploited as initiators in the ring opening polymerization of l-lactide. The molecular weight, thermal properties and in vitro radical scavenging activity of the polymers obtained were compared with the ones of a PLA Natureworks 4043D, commonly used for flexible food packaging applications. The most promising synthesized polymer, bearing vanillyl alcohol as initiator (PLA-VA), was evaluated for active food packaging applications. Packaging with PLA-VA films reduced color and fat oxidation of salami during its shelf life.