Morphology and water barrier properties of nanobiocomposites of κ/ι-hybrid carrageenan and cellulose nanowhiskers.J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Dec 22; 58(24):12847-57.JA
The current study presents the development and characterization of novel carrageenan nanobiocomposites showing enhanced water barrier due to incorporation of cellulose nanowhiskers (CNW). CNW, prepared by acid hydrolysis of highly purified α cellulose microfibers, were seen to have a length of around 25-50 nm and a cross section of ca. 5 nm when dispersed in the matrix. The nanobiocomposites were prepared by incorporating 1, 3, and 5 wt % of the CNW into a carrageenan matrix using a solution casting method. Morphological data (TEM and optical microscopy) of the nanocomposites containing CNW were compared with the morphology of the corresponding biocomposites containing the original cellulose microfibers and the differences discussed. Thermal stability by TGA, water vapor permeability, and percent water uptake were also determined. The main conclusion arising from the analysis of the results is that the nanobiocomposites containing 3 wt % of CNW exhibited the lowest reduction in water vapor permeability, that is, ca. 71%, and that this reduction was largely attributed to a filler-induced water solubility reduction. This fully biobased nanoreinforced carrageenan can open new opportunities for the application of this biopolymer in food-packaging and -coating applications.