Antimicrobial Poly (Lactic Acid)/Copper Nanocomposites for Food Packaging Materials
Composites based on polylactic acid (PLA) and copper for food packaging applications were obtained. Copper clusters were synthesized in polyethylene glycols 400 and 600, respectively, using ascorbic acid as a reducing agent, by reactive milling. Copper clusters were characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR), and Ultraviolet-Visible (UV-VIS) spectroscopy. Copper/PLA composites containing Proviplast as plasticizer were characterized by FT-IR spectroscopy, mechanical tests, Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), absorption of the saline solution, contact angle, and antibacterial properties. It was observed that the concentration of Copper/PEG influenced the investigated properties. The mechanical properties of the samples decreased with the increasing of Copper/PEG concentration. We recorded the phase transformation temperatures and identified the exothermic or endothermic processes. The lowest absorption values were recorded in the case of the sample containing 1% Cu. The contact angle decreases with the increase in the concentration of the PEG 600-Cu mixture in the recipes. The increase in the content of Cu clusters favors the decrease in the temperature, taking place 15% wt mass losses. The obtained composites showed antibacterial properties for all tested strains. These materials could be used as alternative materials for obtaining biodegradable food packaging.