Influence of Tea Tree Essential Oil and Poly(ethylene glycol) on Antibacterial and Physicochemical Properties of Polylactide-Based Films
The aim of the study was to establish the influence of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) on the properties of potential biodegradable packaging materials with antibacterial properties, based on polylactide (PLA) and tea tree essential oil (TTO). The obtained polymeric films consisted of PLA, a natural biocide, and tea tree essential oil (5&ndash;20 wt. %) was prepared with or without an addition of 5 wt. % PEG. The PLA-based materials have been tested, taking into account their morphology, and their thermal, mechanical and antibacterial properties against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. It was established that the introduction of a plasticizer into the PLA&ndash;TTO systems leads to an increase in tensile strength, resistance to deformation, as well an increased thermal stability, in comparison to films modified using only TTO. The incorporation of 5 wt. % PEG in the PLA solution containing 5 wt. % TTO allowed us to obtain a material exhibiting a satisfactory antibacterial effect on both groups of representative bacteria. The presented results indicated a beneficial effect of PEG on the antibacterial and functional properties of materials with the addition of TTO.