Hydrophobicity and Biodegradability of Silane-Treated Nanocellulose in Biopolymer for High-Grade Packaging Applications
The growing concern about pollution produced by plastic waste and the consequent environmental dangers has led to increased interest in replacing plastics with sustainable and biodegradable alternatives. Biopolymers such as seaweed have been examined for their film-forming characteristics to make edible films for packaging applications. This study aimed to prepare biopolymeric packaging films through a solvent-casting process using natural red seaweed (Kappaphycus alvarezii) and kenaf cellulose nanofiber (CNF), followed by film surface treatment using silane. The hydrophobic properties of the seaweed/CNF biopolymer were examined through water solubility (WS), moisture absorption capacity (MAC), water vapor permeability (WVP), and contact angle (CA) measurements. Fourier transform infra-red (FT-IR) film spectra clearly showed successful modification of the seaweed film (SF) by silane and the incorporation of kenaf CNF over the surface of the seaweed film. The wettability-related analysis showed positive results in determining the modified film&rsquo;s hydrophobicity properties. Film degradation analysis using the soil burial method showed a lower degradation rate for films with a higher CNF loading. Overall, the characterization results of the seaweed/CNF biopolymer film predicted hydrophobicity properties. The slow degradation rate was improved with surface modification using silane treatment and the incorporation of kenaf CNF filler with the seaweed matrix. As a result, we found that the seaweed/CNF biopolymer film could be used as high-grade packaging material in many potential applications.