Preparation methods and applications of chitosan nanoparticles; with an outlook toward reinforcement of biodegradable packaging
Chitosan nanoparticles (NPs) are promising polymeric and bio-based NPs, which have received a lot of attention in the last decades. They have great potential as nanocarriers that encapsulate substances such as drugs or active compounds, deliver them to a specific place or site, and provide a controlled release. In the present review, we give a complete overview of the preparation methods, including novel and green procedures, and compile developed applications in medicine, agriculture, and wastewater treatment. Moreover, we highlight the future perspective of chitosan NPs use in PLA-based biodegradable polymers which can be one of the solutions for reducing plastic pollution in nature. Properties of chitosan NPs can be tuned in such a way that they can serve as reinforcement elements in biodegradable plastics leading to much-needed improvements, and also as functional elements that make the application in food packaging with e.g., enhanced antimicrobial activity possible.