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Plasticized Mechanical Recycled PLA Films Reinforced with Microbial Cellulose Particles Obtained from Kombucha Fermented in Yerba Mate Waste

In this study, yerba mate waste (YMW) was used to produce a kombucha beverage, and the obtained microbial cellulose produced as a byproduct (KMW) was used to reinforce a mechanically recycled poly(lactic acid) (r-PLA) matrix. Microbial cellulosic particles were also produced in pristine yerba mate for comparison (KMN). To simulate the revalorization of the industrial PLA products rejected during the production line, PLA was subjected to three extrusion cycles, and the resultant pellets (r3-PLA) were then plasticized with 15 wt.% of acetyl tributyl citrate ester (ATBC) to obtain optically transparent and flexible films by the solvent casting method. The plasticized r3-PLA-ATBC matrix was then loaded with KMW and KMN in 1 and 3 wt.%. The use of plasticizer allowed a good dispersion of microbial cellulose particles into the r3-PLA matrix, allowing us to obtain flexible and transparent films which showed good structural and mechanical performance. Additionally, the obtained films showed antioxidant properties, as was proven by release analyses conducted in direct contact with a fatty food simulant. The results suggest the potential interest of these recycled and biobased materials, which are obtained from the revalorization of food waste, for their industrial application in food packaging and agricultural films.

Publication date: 05/01/2023

Author: Ángel Agüero

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym15020285

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.