Natural Polymers: Design, Characterization and Applications

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 11413

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Division of Packaging Technology, School of Agro-Industry, Faculty of Agro-Industry, Chiang Mai University, Muang, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Interests: natural materials; biopolymers; nanocomposites and nanocoating; active and intelligent packaging; smart packaging; agricultural waste
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Agro-Industry, Faculty of Agro-Industry, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Interests: biopolymers; polymer blends; polymer composites; polymer physics; polymer chemistry; polymer packaging

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Guest Editor
School of Agro-Industry, Faculty of Agro-Industry, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Interests: natural biopolymers; polymer nanocomposites; polymer blends; melt extrusion; smart packaging; active packaging; phase change materials

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Guest Editor
Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR), Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
Interests: polymer science; synthesis; block copolymer self-assembly; organic photovoltaics; polymer nanotechnology; electrospinning
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Synthetic polymers are commonly used to make functional materials such as engineering materials, medicinal materials and packaging materials. However, the use of synthetic polymers has a significant impact on the environment due to their non-degradability. Thus, the design and development of functional materials based on natural polymers are driven to solve such an issue.

Thus, we have created a Special Issue on the topic, "Natural Polymers: Design, Characterization, and Applications", which is available to academics and scientists from all over the world who want to contribute to polymer science. This Special Issue has a broad scope, including the design and modification of natural polymers, polymer composites/nanocomposites, polymer blends, and polymer synthesis and polymer coating in the development of a variety of applications such as in biomedicals, pharmaceuticals, food and non-food packaging, tissue engineering, etc. Characterizations (chemical, physical, thermal and mechanical properties) and processing (film solution casting, blown film extrusion, cast film extrusion, 3D printing and electrospinning) of natural polymers are considered. All types of natural polymers such as chitosan, cellulose, starch, latex, protein, collagen, pectin and their derivatives are also considered. 

The scope of the Special Issue will be broad, with a focus on the design and fabrication of natural polymers via crucial and creative methods for cutting-edge applications.

Prof. Dr. Pornchai Rachtanapun
Dr. Kittisak Jantanasakulwong
Dr. Sarinthip Thanakkasaranee
Prof. Dr. Pual Topham
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

  • chitosan
  • cellulose
  • starch
  • latex
  • protein
  • natural polymer nanocomposites
  • natural polymer blends
  • natural polymer coating
  • natural polymer-based 3D printing
  • food and non-food packaging materials
  • biomedical materials
  • pharmaceutical materials

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 5663 KiB  
Article
HPMC/PVP K90 Dissolving Microneedles Fabricated from 3D-Printed Master Molds: Impact on Microneedle Morphology, Mechanical Strength, and Topical Dissolving Property
by Baramee Chanabodeechalermrung, Tanpong Chaiwarit, Siripat Chaichit, Suruk Udomsom, Phornsawat Baipaywad, Patnarin Worajittiphon and Pensak Jantrawut
Polymers 2024, 16(4), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16040452 - 6 Feb 2024
Viewed by 930
Abstract
Three-dimensional (3D) printing can be used to fabricate custom microneedle (MN) patches instead of the conventional method. In this work, 3D-printed MN patches were utilized to fabricate a MN mold, and the mold was used to prepare dissolving MNs for topical lidocaine HCl [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing can be used to fabricate custom microneedle (MN) patches instead of the conventional method. In this work, 3D-printed MN patches were utilized to fabricate a MN mold, and the mold was used to prepare dissolving MNs for topical lidocaine HCl (L) delivery through the skin. Topical creams usually take 1–2 h to induce an anesthetic effect, so the delivery of lidocaine HCl from dissolving MNs can allow for a therapeutic effect to be reached faster than with a topical cream. The dissolving-MN-patch-incorporated lidocaine HCl was constructed from hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC; H) and polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP K90; P) using centrifugation. Additionally, the morphology, mechanical property, skin insertion, dissolving behavior, drug-loading content, drug release of MNs and the chemical interactions among the compositions were also examined. H51P2-L, H501P2-L, and H901P2-L showed an acceptable needle appearance without bent tips or a broken structure, and they had a low % height change (<10%), including a high blue-dot percentage on the skin (>80%). These three formulations exhibited a drug-loading content approaching 100%. Importantly, the composition-dependent dissolving abilities of MNs were revealed. Containing the lowest amount of HPMC in its formulation, H901P2-L showed the fastest dissolving ability, which was related to the high amount of lidocaine HCl released through the skin. Moreover, the results of an FTIR analysis showed no chemical interactions among the two polymers and lidocaine HCl. As a result, HPMC/PVP K90 dissolving microneedles can be used to deliver lidocaine HCl through the skin, resulting in a faster onset of anesthetic action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polymers: Design, Characterization and Applications)
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23 pages, 5406 KiB  
Article
Classification of the Crosslink Density Level of Para Rubber Thick Film of Medical Glove by Using Near-Infrared Spectral Data
by Jiraporn Sripinyowanich Jongyingcharoen, Suppakit Howimanporn, Agustami Sitorus, Thitima Phanomsophon, Jetsada Posom, Thanapol Salubsi, Adisak Kongwaree, Chin Hock Lim, Kittisak Phetpan, Panmanas Sirisomboon and Satoru Tsuchikawa
Polymers 2024, 16(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16020184 - 8 Jan 2024
Viewed by 4378
Abstract
Classification of the crosslink density level of para rubber medical gloves by using near-infrared spectral data combined with machine learning is the first time reported in this paper. The spectra of medical glove samples with different crosslink densities acquired by an ultra-compact portable [...] Read more.
Classification of the crosslink density level of para rubber medical gloves by using near-infrared spectral data combined with machine learning is the first time reported in this paper. The spectra of medical glove samples with different crosslink densities acquired by an ultra-compact portable MicroNIR spectrometer were correlated with their crosslink density levels, which were referencely evaluated by the toluene swell index (TSI). The machine learning protocols used to classify the 3 groups of TSI were specified as less than 80% TSI, 80–88% TSI, and more than 88% TSI. The 80–88% TSI group was the group in which the compounded latex was suitable for medical glove production, which made the glove specification comply with the requirements of customers as indicated by the tensile test. The results show that when comparing the algorithms used for modeling, the linear discriminant analysis (LDA) developed by 2nd derivative spectra with 15 k-best selected wavelengths fairly accurately predicted the class but was most reliable among other algorithms, i.e., artificial neural networks (ANN), support vector machines (SVM), and k-nearest neighbors (kNN), due to higher prediction accuracy, precision, recall, and F1-score of the same value of 0.76 and no overfitting or underfitting prediction. This developed model can be implemented in the glove factory for screening purposes in the production line. However, deep learning modeling should be explored with a larger sample number required for better model performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polymers: Design, Characterization and Applications)
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21 pages, 7703 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Characterization of Cellulose Nanocrystals from Bamboos and Their Application in Cassava Starch-Based Film
by Parichat Thipchai, Winita Punyodom, Kittisak Jantanasakulwong, Sarinthip Thanakkasaranee, Sasina Hinmo, Kanticha Pratinthong, Gopinath Kasi and Pornchai Rachtanapun
Polymers 2023, 15(12), 2622; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15122622 - 8 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2604
Abstract
Cellulose from different species of bamboo (Thyrsostachys siamesi Gamble, Dendrocalamus sericeus Munro (DSM), Bambusa logispatha, and Bambusa sp.) was converted to cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) by a chemical–mechanical method. First, bamboo fibers were pre-treated (removal of lignin and hemicellulose) to obtain cellulose. [...] Read more.
Cellulose from different species of bamboo (Thyrsostachys siamesi Gamble, Dendrocalamus sericeus Munro (DSM), Bambusa logispatha, and Bambusa sp.) was converted to cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) by a chemical–mechanical method. First, bamboo fibers were pre-treated (removal of lignin and hemicellulose) to obtain cellulose. Next, the cellulose was hydrolyzed with sulfuric acid using ultrasonication to obtain CNCs. The diameters of CNCs are in the range of 11–375 nm. The CNCs from DSM showed the highest yield and crystallinity, which was chosen in the film fabrication. The plasticized cassava starch-based films with various amounts (0–0.6 g) of CNCs (from DSM) were prepared and characterized. As the number of CNCs in cassava starch-based films increased, water solubility and the water vapor permeability of CNCs decreased. In addition, the atomic force microscope of the nanocomposite films showed that CNC particles were dispersed uniformly on the surface of cassava starch-based film at 0.2 and 0.4 g content. However, the number of CNCs at 0.6 g resulted in more CNC agglomeration in cassava starch-based films. The 0.4 g CNC in cassava starch-based film was found to have the highest tensile strength (4.2 MPa). Cassava starch-incorporated CNCs from bamboo film can be applied as a biodegradable packaging material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polymers: Design, Characterization and Applications)
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17 pages, 2214 KiB  
Article
Effective Endotoxin Removal from Chitosan That Preserves Chemical Structure and Improves Compatibility with Immune Cells
by Sophie L. Reay, Emma L. Jackson, Daniel Salthouse, Ana Marina Ferreira, Catharien M. U. Hilkens and Katarina Novakovic
Polymers 2023, 15(7), 1592; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15071592 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2746
Abstract
Chitosan is one of the most researched biopolymers for healthcare applications, however, being a naturally derived polymer, it is susceptible to endotoxin contamination, which elicits pro-inflammatory responses, skewing chitosan’s performance and leading to inaccurate conclusions. It is therefore critical that endotoxins are quantified [...] Read more.
Chitosan is one of the most researched biopolymers for healthcare applications, however, being a naturally derived polymer, it is susceptible to endotoxin contamination, which elicits pro-inflammatory responses, skewing chitosan’s performance and leading to inaccurate conclusions. It is therefore critical that endotoxins are quantified and removed for in vivo use. Here, heat and mild NaOH treatment are investigated as facile endotoxin removal methods from chitosan. Both treatments effectively removed endotoxin to below the FDA limit for medical devices (<0.5 EU/mL). However, in co-culture with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), only NaOH-treated chitosan prevented TNF-α production. While endotoxin removal is the principal task, the preservation of chitosan’s structure is vital for the synthesis and lysozyme degradation of chitosan-based hydrogels. The chemical properties of NaOH-treated chitosan (by FTIR-ATR) were significantly similar to its native composition, whereas the heat-treated chitosan evidenced macroscopic chemical and physical changes associated with the Maillard reaction, deeming this treatment unsuitable for further applications. Degradation studies conducted with lysozyme demonstrated that the degradation rates of native and NaOH-treated chitosan-genipin hydrogels were similar. In vitro co-culture studies showed that NaOH hydrogels did not negatively affect the cell viability of monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs), nor induce phenotypical maturation or pro-inflammatory cytokine release. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polymers: Design, Characterization and Applications)
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