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Green and Eco-Friendly Polymers and Materials for a Sustainable Development

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2023) | Viewed by 9876

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. 3B's Research Group, I3Bs – Research Institute on Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, AvePark, Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia, Zona Industrial da Gandra, 4805-017 Barco, Guimarães, Portugal
2. ICVS/3B’s – PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga/Guimarães, Portugal
Interests: polymer–matrix composites; biocomposites; melt-based technologies and properties; natural origin materials; lignocellulosic materials; antimicrobial properties; biodegradability; value-added products; biomaterials; biomedical applications

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Guest Editor
1. 3B’s Research Group, I3Bs—Research Institute on Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, AvePark, Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia, Zona Industrial da Gandra, Barco, 4805-017 Guimarães, Portugal
2. ICVS/3B’s–PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga, 4805-017 Guimarães, Portugal
Interests: tissue engineering; regenerative medicine; biomaterials; biomimetics; biodegradable materials; 3D in vitro models; cancer modelling
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last few decades, environmental protection has gained increasing relevance. In order to improve the current state of the environment and reduce negative influencing factors, the development of environmentally friendly polymer materials and green materials is necessary. Green materials are composed of nontoxic materials and are typically ecofriendly, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. One such example is bioderived polymers, which have a highly ecofriendly footprint; these materials represent an alternative to oil-based polymers, and their combination with other materials, biopolymers, bioreinforcing agents or bioactive compounds from natural resources can improve their function.

Sustainability, reproducibility, ecoefficiency and the principles of "green chemistry" encourage the development of processes involving minimal use and release of harmful substances and represent guidelines for the development of biopolymer-based materials, blends and biocomposite materials.

This Special Issue will present papers detailing the latest advances in the synthesis, processing, characterization and application of a diverse range of eco-friendly polymers and materials in various fields of interest.

We warmly invite our colleagues to contribute both experimental and theoretical papers to this Special Issue, which aims to expand the knowledge base of this emerging and exciting area.

Dr. Emanuel M. Fernandes
Prof. Dr. Rui L. Reis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • bio-based polymer materials
  • biodegradable polymers
  • biocomposites
  • biomaterials
  • biomass source
  • biorefinery concept
  • ecofriendly materials
  • green chemistry
  • natural additives and fillers
  • novel application of ecofriendly polymers
  • renewable monomers
  • renewable resources
  • sustainable materials

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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23 pages, 6262 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Biochar Addition on Thermal Stability and Decomposition Mechanism of Poly(butylene succinate) Bionanocomposites
by Katerina Papadopoulou, Evangelia Tarani, Nina Maria Ainali, Konstantinos Chrissafis, Christian Wurzer, Ondřej Mašek and Dimitrios N. Bikiaris
Molecules 2023, 28(14), 5330; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28145330 - 11 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1230
Abstract
In the present study, poly(butylene succinate) (PBSu) and its bionanocomposites containing 1, 2.5, and 5 wt.% biochar (MSP700) were prepared via in situ melt polycondensation in order to investigate the thermal stability and decomposition mechanism of the materials. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements [...] Read more.
In the present study, poly(butylene succinate) (PBSu) and its bionanocomposites containing 1, 2.5, and 5 wt.% biochar (MSP700) were prepared via in situ melt polycondensation in order to investigate the thermal stability and decomposition mechanism of the materials. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements were carried out to analyze the surface area of a biochar sample and PBSu/biochar nanocomposites. From XPS, it was found that only physical interactions were taking place between PBSu matrix and biochar nanoadditive. Thermal stability, decomposition kinetics, and the decomposition mechanism of the pristine PBSu and PBSu/biochar nanocomposites were thoroughly studied by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and pyrolysis–gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py−GC/MS). TGA thermograms depicted that all materials had high thermal stability, since their decomposition started at around 300 °C. However, results indicated a slight reduction in the thermal stability of the PBSu biochar nanocomposites because of the potential catalytic impact of biochar. Py−GC/MS analysis was employed to examine, in more detail, the thermal degradation mechanism of PBSu nanocomposites filled with biochar. From the decomposition products identified by Py−GC/MS after pyrolysis at 450 °C, it was found that the decomposition pathway of the PBSu/biochar nanocomposites took place mainly via β-hydrogen bond scission, which is similar to that which took place for neat PBSu. However, at higher biochar content (5 wt.%), some localized differences in the intensity of the peaks of some specific thermal degradation products could be recognized, indicating that α-hydrogen bond scission was also taking place. A study of the thermal stability and decomposition pathway of PBSu/biochar bionanocomposites is crucial to examine if the new materials fulfill the requirements for further investigation for mulch films in agriculture or in electronics as possible applications. Full article
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14 pages, 3150 KiB  
Article
Alginate–Chitosan Membranes for the Encapsulation of Lavender Essential Oil and Development of Biomedical Applications Related to Wound Healing
by Encarnación Cruz Sánchez, María Teresa García, Joana Pereira, Filipe Oliveira, Rita Craveiro, Alexandre Paiva, Ignacio Gracia, Jesús Manuel García-Vargas and Ana Rita C. Duarte
Molecules 2023, 28(9), 3689; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28093689 - 25 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2024
Abstract
Biopolymers such as chitosan (CHT) or alginate (ALG) are among the most prominent for health-related applications due to their broad bioactivity. Their combination for the preparation of membranes is hereby proposed as an application for wound healing with the incorporation of lavender essential [...] Read more.
Biopolymers such as chitosan (CHT) or alginate (ALG) are among the most prominent for health-related applications due to their broad bioactivity. Their combination for the preparation of membranes is hereby proposed as an application for wound healing with the incorporation of lavender essential oil (LEO), widely known for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The preparation of CHT, CHT + LEO, ALG, ALG + LEO, and CHT/ALG + LEO membranes was accomplished, and its composition was analyzed using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). The water absorption capacity and oil release profile of the membranes revealed higher water uptake capacity when a lower LEO release was obtained. The combined CHT/ALG + LEO film showed a water uptake percentage of 638% after 48 h and a maximum LEO release concentration of 42 mg/L. Cytotoxicity and biocompatibility of the prepared membranes were studied using a HaCaT cell line, with an assessment of cell viability regarding film leachables, DNA quantification, and DAPI-phalloidin staining. The results revealed that the indirect contact of the prepared membranes via its leachables does not compromise cell viability, and upon direct contact, cells do not adhere or proliferate on the surface of the membranes. Moreover, the CHT/ALG + LEO membrane increases cell proliferation, making it suitable for applications in wound healing. Full article
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19 pages, 6967 KiB  
Article
Hydrolytic Degradation and Bioactivity of Electrospun PCL-Mg-NPs Fibrous Mats
by Valentina Salaris, Daniel López, José Maria Kenny and Laura Peponi
Molecules 2023, 28(3), 1001; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28031001 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1448
Abstract
In this work, the in vitro degradation behavior of nanofibers was investigated in phosphate buffer solution (PBS) and simulated body fluid (SBF) to study their degradation behavior, as well as their bioactivity. The degradation was studied at different immersion times in order to [...] Read more.
In this work, the in vitro degradation behavior of nanofibers was investigated in phosphate buffer solution (PBS) and simulated body fluid (SBF) to study their degradation behavior, as well as their bioactivity. The degradation was studied at different immersion times in order to evaluate how the presence of Mg-based nanoparticles can affect the degradation in terms of morphology, crystallinity, degradation rate and pH changes, and finally to evaluate the bioactivity of PCL-based electrospun nanofibers. We found that the degradation of the materials takes more than 3 months; however, the presence of nanoparticles seems to have an accelerating effect on the degradation of the electrospun nanofibers based on PCL. In fact, a reduction in diameter of almost 50% was observed with the highest content of both types of nanoparticles and an increase in crystallinity after 296 days of immersion in PBS. Moreover, the carbonyl index was calculated from an FTIR analysis, and a reduction of 20–30% was observed due to the degradation effect. Additionally, the bioactivity of PCL-based electrospun nanofibers was studied and the formation of crystals on the nanofibers surface was detected, except for neat electrospun PCL related to the formation of NaCl and apatites, depending on the amount and type of nanoparticles. The presence of apatites was confirmed by an XRD analysis and FT-IR analysis observing the characteristic peaks; furthermore, the EDX analysis demonstrated the formation of apatites than can be reconducted to the presence of HA when 20 wt% of nanoparticles is added to the PCL electrospun fibers. Full article
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20 pages, 5308 KiB  
Article
Development of Cork Biocomposites Enriched with Chitosan Targeting Antibacterial and Antifouling Properties
by Emanuel M. Fernandes, Flávia C. M. Lobo, Sara I. Faria, Luciana C. Gomes, Tiago H. Silva, Filipe J. M. Mergulhão and Rui L. Reis
Molecules 2023, 28(3), 990; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28030990 - 18 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1707
Abstract
The demand for bio-based and safer composite materials is increasing due to the growth of the industry, human population, and environmental concerns. In this framework, sustainable and safer cork-polymer composites (CPC), based on green low-density polyethylene (LDPE) were developed using melt-based technologies. Chitosan [...] Read more.
The demand for bio-based and safer composite materials is increasing due to the growth of the industry, human population, and environmental concerns. In this framework, sustainable and safer cork-polymer composites (CPC), based on green low-density polyethylene (LDPE) were developed using melt-based technologies. Chitosan and polyethylene-graft-maleic anhydride (PE-g-MA) were employed to enhance the CPC’s properties. The morphology, wettability, mechanical, thermal, and antibacterial properties of the CPC against Pseudomonas putida (P. putida) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) were examined. The CPC showed improved stiffness when compared with that of the LDPE matrix, preferably when combined with chitosan and PE-g-MA (5 wt. %), reinforcing the stiffness (58.8%) and the strength (66.7%). Chitosan also increased the composite stiffness and strength, as well as reduced the surface hydrophilicity. The CPCs’ antibacterial activity revealed that cork significantly reduces the biofilm on the polymer matrix. The highest biofilm reduction was found with CPC containing cork and 5 wt. % chitosan for both P. putida (54% reduction) and S. aureus (36% reduction), confirming their potential to extend the lifespan of products for packaging and healthcare, among other applications. This work leads to the understanding of the factors that influence biofilm formation in cork composites and provides a strategy to reinforce their behavior using chitosan. Full article
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Review

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12 pages, 3146 KiB  
Review
Biowaste-Derived Carbon Dots: A Perspective on Biomedical Potentials
by Navid Rabiee, Siavash Iravani and Rajender S. Varma
Molecules 2022, 27(19), 6186; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27196186 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2502
Abstract
Today, sustainable and natural resources including biowastes have been considered attractive starting materials for the fabrication of biocompatible and biodegradable carbon dots (CDs) due to the benefits of availability, low cost, biorenewability, and environmentally benign attributes. These carbonaceous nanomaterials have been widely explored [...] Read more.
Today, sustainable and natural resources including biowastes have been considered attractive starting materials for the fabrication of biocompatible and biodegradable carbon dots (CDs) due to the benefits of availability, low cost, biorenewability, and environmentally benign attributes. These carbonaceous nanomaterials have been widely explored in the field of sensing/imaging, optoelectronics, photocatalysis, drug/gene delivery, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and cancer theranostics. Designing multifunctional biowaste-derived CDs with a high efficacy-to-toxicity ratio for sustained and targeted drug delivery, along with imaging potentials, opens a new window of opportunity toward theranostic applications. However, crucial challenges regarding the absorption/emission wavelength, up-conversion emission/multiphoton fluorescence mechanisms, and phosphorescence of these CDs still need to be addressed to attain the maximum functionality and efficacy. Future studies ought to focus on optimizing the synthesis techniques/conditions, evaluating the influence of nucleation/growth process on structures/properties, controlling their morphology/size, and finding the photoluminescence mechanisms. Reproducibility of synthesis techniques is another critically important factor that needs to be addressed in the future. Herein, the recent developments related to the biowaste-derived CDs with respect to their biomedical applications are deliberated, focusing on important challenges and future perspectives. Full article
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