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Nanoclay Effect into the Biodegradation and Processability of Poly(lactic acid) Nanocomposites for Food Packaging

One of the most promising expectations in the design of new materials for food packaging is focused on the development of biodegradable systems with improved barrier character. In this sense PLA reinforced with nanoclay is a potential alternative to the use of conventional oil-derivative polymers due to the synergetic effect of the biodegradable character of PLA and the barrier-induced effect derived from the dispersion of nanoparticles. In this work, composite materials based on PLA and reinforced with bentonite nanoparticles (up to 4% w/w) (NC) have been prepared to produce films with improved barrier character against water vapor transportation. Additionally, the biodegradable character of the composites depending on the crystallinity of the polymer and percentage of NC have been evaluated in the presence of an enzymatic active medium (proteinase K). Finally, a study of the capacity to film production of the composites has been performed to determine the viability of the proposals. The dispersion of the nanoparticles induced a tortuous pathway of water vapor crossing, reducing this diffusion by more than 22%. Moreover, the nanoclays materials were in all the cases acceptable for food packing in terms of migration. A migration lower than 1 mg/m2 was obtained in all the materials. Nonetheless, the presence of the nanoclays in decreased biodegradable capacity was observed. The time was enlarged to more than 15 days for the maximum content (4% w/w). On the other hand, the incorporation of NC does not avoid the processability of the material to obtain film-shaped processed materials.

Publication date: 16/08/2021

Author: Helena Oliver-Ortega

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym13162741

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.