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Microscopic and Structural Studies of an Antimicrobial Polymer Film Modified with a Natural Filler Based on Triterpenoids

The aspects of component visualization of the antimicrobial triterpenoids (betulin) additive, both on the surface and in the bulk of the polymer, constituting food film packaging, are considered. This paper presents new knowledge about the morphology and surface structure of modified films using three independent methodological approaches: optical microscopy; a histological method adapted to packaging materials; and a method of attenuated total internal reflection (ATR) spectroscopy in the infrared region with Fourier transform. The use of these methods shows the betulin granules, individual or forming chains. To visualize the antimicrobial additive in the polymer bulk, a modified histological method adapted for film materials and attenuated total internal reflection (ATR) spectroscopy in the infrared region were used with Fourier transform using a Lumos Bruker microscope (Germany) (ATR crystal based on germanium). Sample sections were analyzed using Leica 818 blades at an angle of 45 degrees. The histological method consists of the study of a biological object thin section, in the transmitted light of a microscope, stained with contrast dyes to reveal its structures, and placed on a glass slide. In the method modified for the present study, instead of a biological one, a synthetic object was used, namely the developed film materials with the addition of natural organic origin. Individual granules are about 2 µm long; chains can be up to 10 µm long. The thickness of the granules ranged from 1 to 1.5 microns. It can be seen that the depth distribution of granules in the film from the inner surface to the outer one is rather uniform. Spectroscopic studies using the method of automatic ATR mapping in the region of 880 cm−1 made it possible to evaluate the distribution of an antimicrobial additive based on triterpenoids on the surface and in the polymer bulk.

Publication date: 09/03/2022

Author: Olga Fedotova

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym14061097

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.