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Abstract

Polyesters labelled as bio-based or compostable are increasingly common among the 'bioplastics' in use as food contact materials (FCM). The knowledge of material composition is mandatory to predict potential leachable oligomers as well as to partly evaluate the correctness of the label 'bioplastic', which is used for promotional purposes. The composition of (bio)polyesters can be determined by alkaline hydrolysis of the entire material and subsequent analysis of the monomers via high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection and GC-MS detection. Thirty-three frequently used monomers (polycarboxylic acids, hydroxy carboxylic acids, polyols) including highly polar monomers such as lactic acid were analysed with detection limits below 10 g/kg of the material. Lactic acid enantiomer elucidation was performed using an enzyme assay. The content of non-hydrolysable residue was determined gravimetrically after hydrolysis, and the inorganic residue after washing. The composition of 12 polyesters mostly in food contact, labelled as bio-based or compostable and sampled from the market was elucidated recovering 92-101% of the total mass by summing up the determined monomers and non-polyester contents. Seven different monomers were detected in the 12 samples (up to four different monomers per sample), lactic acid being the most common (9 samples) with contents ranging from a minor component (about 11 mol%) up to the only monomer found in the material. The ratio of D-to L-lactic acid ranged from 0.3:99.7 to 4.7:95.3 (w/w). The non-hydrolysable (in)organic residue was quantified in amounts of up to 390 g/kg. Overall, the presented analytical protocol is a fundamental tool helping both to verify the appropriateness of labelling as biopolyesters as well as to predict potential leachables such as oligomers during an FCM risk assessment.

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For a long time polymers have supplied most of common packaging materials because they present several desired features like softness, lightness and transparency. However, increased use of synthetic packaging films has led to a serious ecological problems due to their total non-biodegradability. Although their complete replacement with eco-friendly packaging films is just impossible to achieve, at least for specific applications like food packaging the use of bioplastics should be the future. The aim of this review was to offer a complete view of the state of the art on biodegradable polymer packages for food application.
Article
Poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) and its copolymers are a family of biodegradable polymers with excellent biodegradability, thermoplastic processability and balanced mechanical properties. In this article, production of the monomers succinic acid and butanediol, synthesis, processing and properties of PBS and its copolymers are reviewed. The physical properties and biodegradation rate of PBS materials can be varied in a wide range through copolymerization with different types and various contents of monomers. PBS has a wide temperature window for thermoplastic processing, which makes the resin suitable for extrusion, injection molding, thermoforming and film blowing. Finally, we summarized industrialization and applications of PBS.
Article
In this paper, different strategies to promote PLA crystallization were investigated with the objective of increasing the crystalline content under typical polymer processing conditions. The effect of heterogeneous nucleation was assessed by adding talc, sodium stearate and calcium lactate as potential nucleating agents. The PLA chain mobility was increased by adding up to 10 wt% acetyl triethyl citrate and polyethylene glycol as plasticizers. The crystallization kinetics were studied using DSC analysis under both isothermal and non-isothermal conditions. The isothermal data showed that talc is highly effective in nucleating the PLA in the 80-120 degrees C temperature range. In the non-isothermal DSC experiments, the crystallinity developed upon cooling was systematically studied at cooling rates of 10, 20, 40, and 80 degrees C/min. The non-isothermal data showed that the combination of nucleant and plasticizer is necessary to develop significant crystallinity at high cooling rates. The nucleated and/or plasticized PLA samples were injection molded and the effect of mold temperature on crystallinity was determined. It was possible to mold the PLA formulations using mold temperatures either below 40 degrees C or greater than 60 degrees C. At low temperature, the molded parts were nearly amorphous while at high mold temperatures, the PLA formulation with proper nucleation and plasticization was shown to achieve crystallinity levels up to 40%, close to the maximum crystalline content of the material. Tensile mechanical properties and temperature resistance of these amorphous and semi-crystalline materials were examined. Crown Copyright (c) 2007 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article
A variety of degradation products are produced upon dilute acid pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. Within this larger construct, organic acids, phenols and aromatic aldehydes represent important compound classes to investigate due to increasing evidence of their inhibitory effect on fermentative microorganisms. An analytical extraction procedure is presented, enabling isolation of potential analytes away from alternative products in biomass hydrolysates. Additionally, a reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method has been developed and validated, affording simultaneous separation and quantitative determination of 32 potential analytes in water with UV detection at 210 nm. The method was subsequently employed to quantify a variety of aliphatic acid, aromatic acid, aldehyde and phenolic degradation products in a corn-stover hydrolysate at concentration levels ranging from 0.02 to 41 mM.
Article
Both polylactide (PLA) and poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) are biodegradable polymers. They are thermoplastics which can be processed using most conventional polymer processing methods. PLA is high in strength and modulus (63 MPa and 3.4 GPa, respectively) but brittle (strain at break 3.8%) while PBAT is flexible and tough (strain at break approximately 710%). In view of their complementary properties, blending PLA with PBAT becomes a natural choice to improve PLA properties without compromising its biodegradability. In this study, PLA and PBAT were melt blended using a twin screw extruder. Melt elasticity and viscosity of the blends increased with the concentration of PBAT. Crystallization of the PLA component, phase morphology of the blend, mechanical properties, and toughening mechanism were investigated. The blend comprised an immiscible, two-phase system with the PBAT evenly dispersed in the form of approximately 300 nm domains within the PLA matrix. The PBAT component accelerated the crystallization rate of PLA but had little effect on its final degree of crystallinity. With the increase in PBAT content (5-20 wt %), the blend showed decreased tensile strength and modulus; however, elongation and toughness were dramatically increased. With the addition of PBAT, the failure mode changed from brittle fracture of the neat PLA to ductile fracture of the blend as demonstrated by tensile test and scanning electron microcopy (SEM) micrographs. Debonding between the PLA and PBAT domains induced large plastic deformation in PLA matrix ligaments.
High-performance liquid chromatography method for simultaneous determination of aliphatic acid, aromatic acid and neutral degradation products in biomass pretreatment hydrolysates
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Nicodom IR Polymers. www.ir-spectra
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