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Supercritical CO2 Impregnation of Thymol in Thermoplastic Starch-Based Blends: Chemico-Physical Properties and Release Kinetics

The aim of the present study was to investigate starch-based materials, prepared in an environmentally friendly way and from renewable resources, suitable for the development of biodegradable active food packaging. For this purpose, a bioactive compound (thymol) was incorporated into thermoplastic starch (TPS) and a TPS blend with poly (ε-caprolactone) (TPS–PCL) by the supercritical CO2 (scCO2) impregnation process. Impregnation experiments with scCO2 were carried out at a pressure of 30 MPa and temperatures in the range of 40–100 °C during 1 to 20 h. The structural, morphological, and thermal properties of the obtained materials were comprehensively evaluated. Bioactive component release kinetic studies were performed in water at 6 °C and 25 °C. It was shown that the scCO2 impregnation process could be successfully employed for thymol loading into TPS and TPS–PCL. The process was significantly influenced by the operating temperature and time as well as content of PCL. The samples showed a controlled release of thymol within seven days with a higher amount of released thymol from the TPS–PCL blend. The obtained materials are solvent-free and release the bioactive component in a controlled manner.

Publication date: 16/10/2022

Author: Marija Lucic Skoric

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym14204360

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.