Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 August 2024 | Viewed by 9742

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Interests: biocoatings; packaging; electrochemical sensors; food safety

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Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to showcase the latest advancements, breakthroughs, and practical implementations of bio-based polymers in various industries and applications. As the world grapples with environmental challenges, bio-based polymers, derived from renewable sources, have emerged as a promising solution. Their eco-friendly nature and potential to replace conventional petroleum-based plastics have garnered immense attention from researchers, industries, and policymakers alike.

This Special Issue will serve as a dynamic platform to disseminate cutting-edge research, innovative methodologies, and real-world case studies that delve into the synthesis, processing, recycling, characterization, and application of bio-based polymers. By presenting a comprehensive view of their potential, we hope to foster a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges surrounding these sustainable materials.

The scope of this Special Issue encompasses an array of fascinating topics, including, but not limited to, biodegradable polymers that break down harmlessly in the environment, biocomposites that combine biopolymers with natural fibers or fillers for enhanced properties, bioplastics with diverse applications in various industries, bio-based nanomaterials with exceptional properties, and their use in packaging, biomedical devices, agriculture, textiles, and many other sectors.

Dr. Masoud Ghaani
Prof. Dr. Stefano Farris
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Polymers 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 polymers
  • sustainable materials
  • renewable biomass
  • eco-friendly plastics
  • biodegradable polymers
  • biocomposites
  • bioplastics
  • bio-based nanomaterials

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 2272 KiB  
Article
Optimised Degradation of Lignocelluloses by Edible Filamentous Fungi for the Efficient Biorefinery of Sugar Beet Pulp
by Zydrune Gaizauskaite, Renata Zvirdauskiene, Mantas Svazas, Loreta Basinskiene and Daiva Zadeike
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1178; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091178 - 23 Apr 2024
Viewed by 506
Abstract
The degradation of the complex structure of lignocellulosic biomass is important for its further biorefinery to value-added bioproducts. The use of effective fungal species for the optimised degradation of biomass can promote the effectiveness of the biorefinery of such raw material. In this [...] Read more.
The degradation of the complex structure of lignocellulosic biomass is important for its further biorefinery to value-added bioproducts. The use of effective fungal species for the optimised degradation of biomass can promote the effectiveness of the biorefinery of such raw material. In this study, the optimisation of processing parameters (temperature, time, and s/w ratio) for cellulase activity and reducing sugar (RS) production through the hydrolysis of sugar beet pulp (SBP) by edible filamentous fungi of Aspergillus, Fusarium, Botrytis, Penicillium, Rhizopus, and Verticillium spp. was performed. The production of RS was analysed at various solid/water (s/w) ratios (1:10–1:20), different incubation temperatures (20–35 °C), and processing times (60–168 h). The Aspergillus niger CCF 3264 and Penicillium oxalicum CCF 3438 strains showed the most effective carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) degrading activity and also sugar recovery (15.9–44.8%) from SBP biomass in the one-factor experiments. Mathematical data evaluation indicated that the highest RS concentration (39.15 g/100 g d.w.) and cellulolytic activity (6.67 U/g d.w.) could be achieved using A. niger CCF 3264 for the degradation of SBP at 26 °C temperature with 136 h of processing time and a 1:15 solid/water ratio. This study demonstrates the potential of fungal degradation to be used for SBP biorefining. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers)
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16 pages, 5191 KiB  
Article
Physicochemical Characterization and In Vitro Activity of Poly(ε-Caprolactone)/Mycophenolic Acid Amorphous Solid Dispersions
by Oroitz Sánchez-Aguinagalde, Eva Sanchez-Rexach, Yurena Polo, Aitor Larrañaga, Ainhoa Lejardi, Emilio Meaurio and Jose-Ramon Sarasua
Polymers 2024, 16(8), 1088; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16081088 - 13 Apr 2024
Viewed by 560
Abstract
The obtention of amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs) of mycophenolic acid (MPA) in poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) is reported in this paper. An improvement in the bioavailability of the drug is possible thanks to the favorable specific interactions occurring in this system. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) [...] Read more.
The obtention of amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs) of mycophenolic acid (MPA) in poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) is reported in this paper. An improvement in the bioavailability of the drug is possible thanks to the favorable specific interactions occurring in this system. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was used to investigate the miscibility of PCL/MPA blends, measuring glass transition temperature (Tg) and analyzing melting point depression to obtain a negative interaction parameter, which indicates the development of favorable inter-association interactions. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was used to analyze the specific interaction occurring in the blends. Drug release measurements showed that at least 70% of the drug was released by the third day in vitro in all compositions. Finally, preliminary in vitro cell culture experiments showed a decreased number of cancerous cells over the scaffolds containing MPA, presumably arising from the anti-cancer activity attributable to MPA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers)
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17 pages, 5749 KiB  
Article
Improvement in Crystallization, Thermal, and Mechanical Properties of Flexible Poly(L-lactide)-b-poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(L-lactide) Bioplastic with Zinc Phenylphosphate
by Kansiri Pakkethati, Prasong Srihanam, Apirada Manphae, Wuttipong Rungseesantivanon, Natcha Prakymoramas, Pham Ngoc Lan and Yodthong Baimark
Polymers 2024, 16(7), 975; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16070975 - 3 Apr 2024
Viewed by 586
Abstract
Poly(L-lactide)-b-poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(L-lactide) (PLLA-PEG-PLLA) shows promise for use in bioplastic applications due to its greater flexibility over PLLA. However, further research is needed to improve PLLA-PEG-PLLA’s properties with appropriate fillers. This study employed zinc phenylphosphate (PPZn) as a multi-functional filler [...] Read more.
Poly(L-lactide)-b-poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(L-lactide) (PLLA-PEG-PLLA) shows promise for use in bioplastic applications due to its greater flexibility over PLLA. However, further research is needed to improve PLLA-PEG-PLLA’s properties with appropriate fillers. This study employed zinc phenylphosphate (PPZn) as a multi-functional filler for PLLA-PEG-PLLA. The effects of PPZn addition on PLLA-PEG-PLLA characteristics, such as crystallization and thermal and mechanical properties, were investigated. There was good phase compatibility between the PPZn and PLLA-PEG-PLLA. The addition of PPZn improved PLLA-PEG-PLLA’s crystallization properties, as evidenced by the disappearance of the cold crystallization temperature, an increase in the crystallinity, an increase in the crystallization temperature, and a decrease in the crystallization half-time. The PLLA-PEG-PLLA’s thermal stability and heat resistance were enhanced by the addition of PPZn. The PPZn addition also enhanced the mechanical properties of the PLLA-PEG-PLLA, as demonstrated by the rise in ultimate tensile stress and Young’s modulus. We can conclude that the PPZn has potential for use as a multi-functional filler for the PLLA-PEG-PLLA composite due to its nucleating-enhancing, thermal-stabilizing, and reinforcing ability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers)
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17 pages, 2831 KiB  
Article
Effect of Starch and Paperboard Reinforcing Structures on Insulative Fiber Foam Composites
by Gregory M. Glenn, Gustavo H. D. Tonoli, Luiz E. Silva, Artur P. Klamczynski, Delilah Wood, Bor-Sen Chiou, Charles Lee, William Hart-Cooper, Zach McCaffrey and William Orts
Polymers 2024, 16(7), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16070911 - 26 Mar 2024
Viewed by 653
Abstract
Single-use plastic foams are used extensively as interior packaging to insulate and protect items during shipment but have come under increasing scrutiny due to the volume sent to landfills and their negative impact on the environment. Insulative compression molded cellulose fiber foams could [...] Read more.
Single-use plastic foams are used extensively as interior packaging to insulate and protect items during shipment but have come under increasing scrutiny due to the volume sent to landfills and their negative impact on the environment. Insulative compression molded cellulose fiber foams could be a viable alternative, but they do not have the mechanical strength of plastic foams. To address this issue, a novel approach was used that combined the insulative properties of cellulose fiber foams, a binder (starch), and three different reinforcing paperboard elements (angular, cylindrical, and grid) to make low-density foam composites with excellent mechanical strength. Compression molded foams and composites had a consistent thickness and a smooth, flat finish. Respirometry tests showed the fiber foams mineralized in the range of 37 to 49% over a 46 d testing period. All of the samples had relatively low density (Dd) and thermal conductivity (TC). The Dd of samples ranged from 33.1 to 64.9 kg/m3, and TC ranged from 0.039 to 0.049 W/mk. The addition of starch to the fiber foam (FF+S) and composites not only increased Dd, drying time (Td), and TC by an average of 18%, 55%, and 5.5%, respectively, but also dramatically increased the mechanical strength. The FF+S foam and paperboard composites had 240% and 350% higher average flexural strength (σfM) and modulus (Ef), respectively, than the FF-S composites. The FF-S grid composite and all the FF+S foam and composite samples had equal or higher σfM than EPS foam. Additionally, FF+S foam and paperboard composites had 187% and 354% higher average compression strength (CS) and modulus (Ec), respectively, than the FF-S foam and composites. All the paperboard composites for both FF+S and FF-S samples had comparable or higher CS, but only the FF+S cylinder and grid samples had greater toughness (Ωc) than EPS foam. Fiber foams and foam composites are compatible with existing paper recycling streams and show promise as a biodegradable, insulative alternative to EPS foam internal packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers)
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22 pages, 17466 KiB  
Article
Accelerated Weathering Testing (AWT) and Bacterial Biodegradation Effects on Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV)/Rapeseed Microfiber Biocomposites Properties
by Madara Žiganova, Remo Merijs-Meri, Jānis Zicāns, Agnese Ābele, Ivan Bochkov and Tatjana Ivanova
Polymers 2024, 16(5), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16050622 - 24 Feb 2024
Viewed by 633
Abstract
In the context of sustainable materials, this study explores the effects of accelerated weathering testing and bacterial biodegradation on poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV)/rapeseed microfiber biocomposites. Accelerated weathering, simulating outdoor environmental conditions, and bacterial biodegradation, representing natural degradation processes in soil, were employed to investigate the [...] Read more.
In the context of sustainable materials, this study explores the effects of accelerated weathering testing and bacterial biodegradation on poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV)/rapeseed microfiber biocomposites. Accelerated weathering, simulating outdoor environmental conditions, and bacterial biodegradation, representing natural degradation processes in soil, were employed to investigate the changes in the mechanical, thermal and morphological properties of these materials during its post-production life cycle. Attention was paid to the assessment of the change of structural, mechanical and calorimetric properties of alkali and N-methylmorpholine N-oxide (NMMO)-treated rapeseed microfiber (RS)-reinforced plasticized PHBV composites before and after accelerated weathering. Results revealed that accelerated weathering led to an increase in stiffness, but a reduction in tensile strength and elongation at break, of the investigated PHBV biocomposites. Additionally, during accelerated weathering, the crystallinity of PHBV biocomposites increased, especially in the presence of RS, due to both the hydrolytic degradation of the polymer matrix and the nucleating effect of the filler. It has been observed that an increase in PHBV crystallinity, determined by DSC measurements, correlates with the intensity ratio I1225/1180 obtained from FTIR-ATR data. The treatment of RS microfibers increased the biodegradation capability of the developed PHBV composites, especially in the case of chemically untreated RS. All the developed PHBV composites demonstrated faster biodegradation in comparison to neat PHBV matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers)
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17 pages, 4055 KiB  
Article
Biopolymers as Seed-Coating Agent to Enhance Microbially Induced Tolerance of Barley to Phytopathogens
by Aizhamal Usmanova, Yelena Brazhnikova, Anel Omirbekova, Aida Kistaubayeva, Irina Savitskaya and Lyudmila Ignatova
Polymers 2024, 16(3), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16030376 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1537
Abstract
Infections of agricultural crops caused by pathogen ic fungi are among the most widespread and harmful, as they not only reduce the quantity of the harvest but also significantly deteriorate its quality. This study aims to develop unique seed-coating formulations incorporating biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoate [...] Read more.
Infections of agricultural crops caused by pathogen ic fungi are among the most widespread and harmful, as they not only reduce the quantity of the harvest but also significantly deteriorate its quality. This study aims to develop unique seed-coating formulations incorporating biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoate and pullulan) and beneficial microorganisms for plant protection against phytopathogens. A microbial association of biocompatible endophytic bacteria has been created, including Pseudomonas flavescens D5, Bacillus aerophilus A2, Serratia proteamaculans B5, and Pseudomonas putida D7. These strains exhibited agronomically valuable properties: synthesis of the phytohormone IAA (from 45.2 to 69.2 µg mL−1), antagonistic activity against Fusarium oxysporum and Fusarium solani (growth inhibition zones from 1.8 to 3.0 cm), halotolerance (5–15% NaCl), and PHA production (2.77–4.54 g L−1). A pullulan synthesized by Aureobasidium pullulans C7 showed a low viscosity rate (from 395 Pa·s to 598 Pa·s) depending on the concentration of polysaccharide solutions. Therefore, at 8.0%, w/v concentration, viscosity virtually remained unchanged with increasing shear rate, indicating that it exhibits Newtonian flow behavior. The effectiveness of various antifungal seed coating formulations has been demonstrated to enhance the tolerance of barley plants to phytopathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers)
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17 pages, 4838 KiB  
Article
Mucoadhesive Hybrid System of Silk Fibroin Nanoparticles and Thermosensitive In Situ Hydrogel for Amphotericin B Delivery: A Potential Option for Fungal Keratitis Treatment
by Pratthana Chomchalao, Nuttawut Saelim, Supaporn Lamlertthon, Premnapa Sisopa and Waree Tiyaboonchai
Polymers 2024, 16(1), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16010148 - 3 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1162
Abstract
The purpose of this work was to investigate the feasibility of a novel ophthalmic formulation of amphotericin B-encapsulated silk fibroin nanoparticles incorporated in situ hydrogel (AmB-FNPs ISG) for fungal keratitis (FK) treatment. AmB-FNPs ISG composites were successfully developed and have shown optimized physicochemical [...] Read more.
The purpose of this work was to investigate the feasibility of a novel ophthalmic formulation of amphotericin B-encapsulated silk fibroin nanoparticles incorporated in situ hydrogel (AmB-FNPs ISG) for fungal keratitis (FK) treatment. AmB-FNPs ISG composites were successfully developed and have shown optimized physicochemical properties for ocular drug delivery. Antifungal effects against Candida albicans and in vitro ocular irritation using corneal epithelial cells were performed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the composite formulations. The combined system of AmB-FNPs-ISG exhibited effective antifungal activity and showed significantly less toxicity to HCE cells than commercial AmB. In vitro and ex vivo mucoadhesive tests demonstrated that the combination of silk fibroin nanoparticles with in situ hydrogels could enhance the adhesion ability of the particles on the ocular surface for more than 6 h, which would increase the ocular retention time of AmB and reduce the frequency of administration during the treatment. In addition, AmB-FNP-PEG ISG showed good physical and chemical stability under storage condition for 90 days. These findings indicate that AmB-FNP-PEG ISG has a great potential and be used in mucoadhesive AmB eye drops for FK treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers)
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Review

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23 pages, 4278 KiB  
Review
Embracing Sustainability: The World of Bio-Based Polymers in a Mini Review
by Grazia Isa C. Righetti, Filippo Faedi and Antonino Famulari
Polymers 2024, 16(7), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16070950 - 30 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1002
Abstract
The proliferation of polymer science and technology in recent decades has been remarkable, with synthetic polymers derived predominantly from petroleum-based sources dominating the market. However, concerns about their environmental impacts and the finite nature of fossil resources have sparked interest in sustainable alternatives. [...] Read more.
The proliferation of polymer science and technology in recent decades has been remarkable, with synthetic polymers derived predominantly from petroleum-based sources dominating the market. However, concerns about their environmental impacts and the finite nature of fossil resources have sparked interest in sustainable alternatives. Bio-based polymers, derived from renewable sources such as plants and microbes, offer promise in addressing these challenges. This review provides an overview of bio-based polymers, discussing their production methods, properties, and potential applications. Specifically, it explores prominent examples including polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), and polyhydroxy polyamides (PHPAs). Despite their current limited market share, the growing awareness of environmental issues and advancements in technology are driving increased demand for bio-based polymers, positioning them as essential components in the transition towards a more sustainable future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers)
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20 pages, 10375 KiB  
Review
Application of Chitosan-Based Hydrogel in Promoting Wound Healing: A Review
by Xueyan Che, Ting Zhao, Jing Hu, Kaicheng Yang, Nan Ma, Anning Li, Qi Sun, Chuanbo Ding and Qiteng Ding
Polymers 2024, 16(3), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16030344 - 26 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2191
Abstract
Chitosan is a linear polyelectrolyte with active hydroxyl and amino groups that can be made into chitosan-based hydrogels by different cross-linking methods. Chitosan-based hydrogels also have a three-dimensional network of hydrogels, which can accommodate a large number of aqueous solvents and biofluids. CS, [...] Read more.
Chitosan is a linear polyelectrolyte with active hydroxyl and amino groups that can be made into chitosan-based hydrogels by different cross-linking methods. Chitosan-based hydrogels also have a three-dimensional network of hydrogels, which can accommodate a large number of aqueous solvents and biofluids. CS, as an ideal drug-carrying material, can effectively encapsulate and protect drugs and has the advantages of being nontoxic, biocompatible, and biodegradable. These advantages make it an ideal material for the preparation of functional hydrogels that can act as wound dressings for skin injuries. This review reports the role of chitosan-based hydrogels in promoting skin repair in the context of the mechanisms involved in skin injury repair. Chitosan-based hydrogels were found to promote skin repair at different process stages. Various functional chitosan-based hydrogels are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Application of Bio-Based Polymers)
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