Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Analysis and Characterization".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020) | Viewed by 81855

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Sciences, Università degli Studi di Catania, 95125 Catania, Italy
Interests: packaging materials; bio-based and biodegradable polymers; bio-based and biodegradable polyesters; green composites; polymerization of biopolymers; processing of bioplastics; sustainable polymer for food preservation; biopolymers for food packaging; edible films; compostable packaging; monomers from renewable resources; polymers from renewable resources; gas barrier properties; life cycle assessment (LCA) study; bioeconomy; circular economy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

According to the data in the literature, the consumption of plastic-like polymers is exceeding an annual quantity of about 300 tons. Plastic-like polymers are employed in all fields and as special materials in biomedicine, membrane separation and the packaging industry, thanks to their low market cost and appropriate chemical–physical, mechanical and gas selectivity characteristics. In spite of these advantages, their industrial manufacturing is based on non-renewable fossil resources that are progressively depleting and, after their lifetime, they are accumulated as non-biodegradable wastes. Considering the environmental concerns, a switch towards renewable material resources should be taken into consideration to promote sustainable development. One possible solution is a stronger implementation of the use of eco-friendly polymer formulations, based on biopolymers. Biopolymers can offer attractive alternatives as long as their synthesis and characterization can be easily tailored for technological applications.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect the results concerning the synthesis and characterization of biopolymers in order to reach the perfect optimization of their properties for their potential application in every field of interest.

Prof. Valentina Siracusa
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Biopolymers
  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Biopolyesters
  • Biomaterials
  • Structure–property relations
  • Gas barrier behavior
  • Synthesis of biopolymers
  • Characterization of biopolymers
  • Morphology of biopolymers
  • Functional properties of biopolymers
  • Eco-friendly materials

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 6201 KiB  
Article
Acrylic Bone Cement Incorporated with Low Chitosan Loadings
by Mayra Eliana Valencia Zapata, José Herminsul Mina Hernandez and Carlos David Grande Tovar
Polymers 2020, 12(7), 1617; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12071617 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2610
Abstract
Despite the potential of acrylic bone cement (ABC) loaded with chitosan (CS) for orthopedic applications, there are only a few in vitro studies of this composite with CS loading ≤ 15 wt.% evaluated in bioactivity tests in simulated body fluid (SBF) for duration [...] Read more.
Despite the potential of acrylic bone cement (ABC) loaded with chitosan (CS) for orthopedic applications, there are only a few in vitro studies of this composite with CS loading ≤ 15 wt.% evaluated in bioactivity tests in simulated body fluid (SBF) for duration > 30 days. The purpose of the present work was to address this shortcoming of the literature. In addition to bioactivity, a wide range of cement properties were determined for composites with CS loading ranging from 0 to 20 wt.%. These properties included maximum exotherm temperature (Tmax), setting time (tset), water contact angle, residual monomer content, flexural strength, bending modulus, glass transition temperature, and water uptake. For cement with CS loading ≥ 15 wt.%, there was an increase in bioactivity, increase in biocompatibility, decrease in Tmax, increase in tset, all of which are desirable trends, but increase in residual monomer content and decrease in each of the mechanical properties, with each of these trends, were undesirable. Thus, a composite with CS loading of 15 wt.% should be further characterized to explore its suitability for use in low-weight-bearing applications, such as bone void filler and balloon kyphoplasty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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14 pages, 2464 KiB  
Article
Preparation and pH Controlled Release of Fe3O4/Anthocyanin Magnetic Biocomposites
by Xizhi Jiang, Qingbao Guan, Min Feng, Mengyang Wang, Nina Yan, Min Wang, Lei Xu and Zhongzheng Gui
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 2077; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11122077 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3484
Abstract
Anthocyanins are a class of antioxidants extracted from plants, with a variety of biochemical and pharmacological properties. However, the wide and effective applications of anthocyanins have been limited by their relatively low stability and bioavailability. In order to expand the application of anthocyanins, [...] Read more.
Anthocyanins are a class of antioxidants extracted from plants, with a variety of biochemical and pharmacological properties. However, the wide and effective applications of anthocyanins have been limited by their relatively low stability and bioavailability. In order to expand the application of anthocyanins, Fe3O4/anthocyanin magnetic biocomposite was fabricated for the storage and release of anthocyanin in this work. The magnetic biocomposite of Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticle-loaded anthocyanin was prepared through physical intermolecular adsorption or covalent cross-linking. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Dynamic light scattering (DLS), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffractometry (XRD) and thermal analysis were used to characterize the biocomposite. In addition, the anthocyanin releasing experiments were performed. The optimized condition for the Fe3O4/anthocyanin magnetic biocomposite preparation was determined to be at 60 °C for 20 h in weak alkaline solution. The smooth surface of biocomposite from SEM suggested that anthocyanin was coated on the surface of the Fe3O4 particles successfully. The average size of the Fe3O4/anthocyanin magnetic biocomposite was about 222 nm. Under acidic conditions, the magnetic biocomposite solids could be repeatable released anthocyanin, with the same chemical structure as the anthocyanin before compounding. Therefore, anthocyanin can be effectively adsorbed and released by this magnetic biocomposite. Overall, this work shows that Fe3O4/anthocyanin magnetic biocomposite has great potential for future applications as a drug storage and delivery nanoplatform that is adaptable to medical, food and sensing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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21 pages, 2710 KiB  
Article
Study of the Influence of the Reprocessing Cycles on the Final Properties of Polylactide Pieces Obtained by Injection Molding
by Angel Agüero, Maria del Carmen Morcillo, Luis Quiles-Carrillo, Rafael Balart, Teodomiro Boronat, Diego Lascano, Sergio Torres-Giner and Octavio Fenollar
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 1908; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11121908 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 72 | Viewed by 6123
Abstract
This research work aims to study the influence of the reprocessing cycles on the mechanical, thermal, and thermomechanical properties of polylactide (PLA). To this end, PLA was subjected to as many as six extrusion cycles and the resultant pellets were shaped into pieces [...] Read more.
This research work aims to study the influence of the reprocessing cycles on the mechanical, thermal, and thermomechanical properties of polylactide (PLA). To this end, PLA was subjected to as many as six extrusion cycles and the resultant pellets were shaped into pieces by injection molding. Mechanical characterization revealed that the PLA pieces presented relatively similar properties up to the third reprocessing cycle, whereas further cycles induced an intense reduction in ductility and toughness. The effect of the reprocessing cycles was also studied by the changes in the melt fluidity, which showed a significant increase after four reprocessing cycles. An increase in the bio-polyester chain mobility was also attained with the number of the reprocessing cycles that subsequently favored an increase in crystallinity of PLA. A visual inspection indicated that PLA developed certain yellowing and the pieces also became less transparent with the increasing number of reprocessing cycles. Therefore, the obtained results showed that PLA suffers a slight degradation after one or two reprocessing cycles whereas performance impairment becomes more evident above the fourth reprocessing cycle. This finding suggests that the mechanical recycling of PLA for up to three cycles of extrusion and subsequent injection molding is technically feasible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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13 pages, 3402 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Properties of Chitosan/Graphene Modified Bamboo Fiber Fabrics
by Yan Wu, Yuqing Bian, Feng Yang, Yang Ding and Kexin Chen
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101540 - 21 Sep 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3239
Abstract
Chitosan (CS) and graphene (Gr) were used to modify bamboo fiber fabrics to develop new bamboo fiber fabrics (CGBFs) with antimicrobial properties. The CGBFs were prepared by chemical crosslinking with CS as binder assistant and Gr as functional finishing agent. The method of [...] Read more.
Chitosan (CS) and graphene (Gr) were used to modify bamboo fiber fabrics to develop new bamboo fiber fabrics (CGBFs) with antimicrobial properties. The CGBFs were prepared by chemical crosslinking with CS as binder assistant and Gr as functional finishing agent. The method of firmly attaching the CS/Gr to bamboo fiber fabrics was explored. On the basis of the constant amount of CS, the best impregnation modification scheme was determined by changing the amount of Gr and evaluating the properties of the CS/Gr modified bamboo fiber fabrics. The results showed that the antibacterial rate of CGBFs with 0.3 wt% Gr was more than 99%, and compared with the control sample, the maximum tensile strength of CGBF increased by 1% in the longitudinal direction and 7.8% in the weft direction. The elongation at break increased by 2.2% in longitude and 57.3% in latitude. After 20 times of washing with WOB (without optical brightener) detergent solution, the antimicrobial rate can still be more than 70%. Therefore, these newly CS/Gr modified bamboo fiber fabrics hold great promise for antibacterial application in home decoration and clothing textiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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15 pages, 4239 KiB  
Article
Flame Retardancy and Mechanism of Novel Phosphorus-Silicon Flame Retardant Based on Polysilsesquioxane
by Shengjie Zhu, Weiguang Gong, Ji Luo, Xin Meng, Zhong Xin, Jie Wu and Zewen Jiang
Polymers 2019, 11(8), 1304; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11081304 - 04 Aug 2019
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4358
Abstract
A novel phosphorus-silicon flame retardant (P5PSQ) was prepared by bonding phosphate to silicon-based polysilsesquioxane (PSQ) and used as flame retardant of poly (lactic acid) (PLA). The results show that PLA with 10 wt % P5PSQ has a limiting oxygen [...] Read more.
A novel phosphorus-silicon flame retardant (P5PSQ) was prepared by bonding phosphate to silicon-based polysilsesquioxane (PSQ) and used as flame retardant of poly (lactic acid) (PLA). The results show that PLA with 10 wt % P5PSQ has a limiting oxygen index (LOI) 24.1%, the peak heat release rate (PHRR) and total heat release (THR) of PLA decrease 21.8% and 25.2% compared to neat PLA in cone calorimetric test, indicating that P5PSQ shows better flame retardancy in comparison to PSQ. Furthermore, the study for the morphology and composition of carbon residue after the combustion of PLA and the gas release of PLA during combustion illustrate that P5PSQ has flame retardancy in condensed phase and gas phase simultaneously. In condensed phase, phosphorus from phosphate promotes the formation of more stable and better carbon layer containing Si and P, which inhibits the transfer of heat and oxygen in the combustion. In gas phase, the phosphate in P5PSQ emits phosphorus-containing compound that can restrain the release of C–O containing products, which may have effective flame retardancy for PLA in gas phase to a certain extent. In one word, P5PSQ is denoted as a good phosphorus-silicon synergistic flame-retardant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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14 pages, 3446 KiB  
Article
Reinforcement of Bonding Strength and Water Resistance of Soybean Meal-Based Adhesive via Construction of an Interactive Network from Biomass Residues
by Zhiwei Chang, Huiwen Pang, Anmin Huang, Jianzhang Li and Shifeng Zhang
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 967; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11060967 - 03 Jun 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2972
Abstract
Soybean meal-based adhesives are attractive potential environmentally friendly replacements for formaldehyde-based adhesives. However, the low strength and poor water resistance of soybean meal-based adhesives limit their practical application. This study was conducted to develop a natural fiber-reinforced soybean meal-based adhesive with enhanced water [...] Read more.
Soybean meal-based adhesives are attractive potential environmentally friendly replacements for formaldehyde-based adhesives. However, the low strength and poor water resistance of soybean meal-based adhesives limit their practical application. This study was conducted to develop a natural fiber-reinforced soybean meal-based adhesive with enhanced water resistance and bonding strength. Pulp fiber (PF), poplar wood fiber (WF), and bagasse fiber (BF) were added as fillers into the soybean meal-based adhesive to enhance its performance via hydrogen bonding between the PF and the soybean meal system. The enhanced adhesive exhibited a strong crosslinking structure characterized by multi-interfacial interactions wherein PF served as a bridging ligament and released residual stress into the crosslinking network. The crosslinked structure and improved interfacial interactions were confirmed by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrophotometry, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) measurements. Plywood bonded with 4 wt % PF-containing soybean meal-based adhesive exhibited a wet shear strength (1.14 MPa) exceeding that of plywood bonded with the control group by 75.4% due to the stable crosslinking network having efficiently transformed stress and prevented the permeation of water molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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Review

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27 pages, 3085 KiB  
Review
Thiolation of Biopolymers for Developing Drug Delivery Systems with Enhanced Mechanical and Mucoadhesive Properties: A Review
by Vivek Puri, Ameya Sharma, Pradeep Kumar and Inderbir Singh
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1803; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081803 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 47 | Viewed by 5096
Abstract
Biopolymers are extensively used for developing drug delivery systems as they are easily available, economical, readily modified, nontoxic, biodegradable and biocompatible. Thiolation is a well reported approach for enhancing mucoadhesive and mechanical properties of polymers. In the present review article, for the modification [...] Read more.
Biopolymers are extensively used for developing drug delivery systems as they are easily available, economical, readily modified, nontoxic, biodegradable and biocompatible. Thiolation is a well reported approach for enhancing mucoadhesive and mechanical properties of polymers. In the present review article, for the modification of biopolymers different thiolation methods and evaluation/characterization techniques have been discussed in detail. Reported literature on thiolated biopolymers with enhanced mechanical and mucoadhesive properties has been presented conspicuously in text as well as in tabular form. Patents filed by researchers on thiolated polymers have also been presented. In conclusion, thiolation is an easily reproducible and efficient method for customization of mucoadhesive and mechanical properties of biopolymers for drug delivery applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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17 pages, 3339 KiB  
Review
Bio-Polyethylene (Bio-PE), Bio-Polypropylene (Bio-PP) and Bio-Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (Bio-PET): Recent Developments in Bio-Based Polymers Analogous to Petroleum-Derived Ones for Packaging and Engineering Applications
by Valentina Siracusa and Ignazio Blanco
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1641; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081641 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 239 | Viewed by 37667
Abstract
In recent year, there has been increasing concern about the growing amount of plastic waste coming from daily life. Different kinds of synthetic plastics are currently used for an extensive range of needs, but in order to reduce the impact of petroleum-based plastics [...] Read more.
In recent year, there has been increasing concern about the growing amount of plastic waste coming from daily life. Different kinds of synthetic plastics are currently used for an extensive range of needs, but in order to reduce the impact of petroleum-based plastics and material waste, considerable attention has been focused on “green” plastics. In this paper, we present a broad review on the advances in the research and development of bio-based polymers analogous to petroleum-derived ones. The main interest for the development of bio-based materials is the strong public concern about waste, pollution and carbon footprint. The sustainability of those polymers, for general and specific applications, is driven by the great progress in the processing technologies that refine biomass feedstocks in order to obtain bio-based monomers that are used as building blocks. At the same time, thanks to the industrial progress, it is possible to obtain more versatile and specific chemical structures in order to synthetize polymers with ad-hoc tailored properties and functionalities, with engineering applications that include packaging but also durable and electronic goods. In particular, three types of polymers were described in this review: Bio-polyethylene (Bio-PE), bio-polypropylene (Bio-PP) and Bio-poly(ethylene terephthalate) (Bio-PET). The recent advances in their development in terms of processing technologies, product development and applications, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, are reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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18 pages, 1681 KiB  
Review
Microbial Degradation of Synthetic Biopolymers Waste
by Valentina Siracusa
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061066 - 20 Jun 2019
Cited by 159 | Viewed by 14827
Abstract
Over the last ten years, the demand of biodegradable polymers has grown at an annual rate of 20–30%. However, the market share is about less than 0.1% of the total plastic production due to their lower performances, higher price and limited legislative attention [...] Read more.
Over the last ten years, the demand of biodegradable polymers has grown at an annual rate of 20–30%. However, the market share is about less than 0.1% of the total plastic production due to their lower performances, higher price and limited legislative attention in respect to the standard materials. The biodegradability as a functional added property is often not completely perceived from the final consumers. However, the opportunity to use renewable resources and to reduce the dependency from petroleum resources could become an incentive to accelerate their future growth. Renewable raw materials, coming from industrial wastes such as oilseed crops, starch from cereals and potatoes, cellulose from straw and wood, etc., can be converted into chemical intermediates and polymers, in order to substitute fossil fuel feedstock. The introduction of these new products could represent a significant contribution to sustainable development. However, the use of renewable resources and the production of the bioplastics are no longer a guarantee for a minimal environmental impact. The production process as well as their technical performances and their ultimate disposal has to be carefully considered. Bioplastics are generally biodegradable, but the diffusion of the composting technology is a prerequisite for their development. Efforts are required at industry level in order to develop less expensive and high performance products, with minimal environmental impact technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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