Technological watch

Value-Added Use of Invasive Plant-Derived Fibers as PHBV Fillers for Biocomposite Development

Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) is a promising biobased, biodegradable thermoplastic with limited industrial applications due to its brittleness and high cost. To improve these properties, lignocellulosic fibers from two invasive plants (Phalaris arundinacea and Lonicera japonica) were used as PHBV reinforcing agents. Alkali treatment of the fibers improved the PHBV–fiber interfacial bond by up to 300%. The morphological, mechanical, and thermal properties of the treated fibers were characterized, as well as their size, loading, and type, to understand their impact on performance of the biocomposites. The new biocomposites had improved thermal stability, restricted crystallization, reduced rigidity, and reduced cost compared with PHBV. Additionally, these novel biocomposites performed similarly to conventional plastics such as polypropylene, suggesting their potential as bio-alternatives for industrial applications such as semirigid packaging and lightweight auto body panels.

Publication date: 16/06/2021

Author: Xiaoying Zhao

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym13121975

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.