Eco-friendly gelatin films with rosin-grafted cellulose nanocrystals for antimicrobial packaging.Int J Biol Macromol. 2020 Dec 15; 165(Pt B):2974-2983.IJ
We report on gelatin films incorporating rosin-grafted cellulose nanocrystals (r-CNCs), which fulfill the most relevant requirements for antimicrobial packaging applications. Transparent gelatin/r-CNCs bionanocomposite films (0.5-6 wt% r-CNCs) were obtained by solution casting and displayed high UV-barrier properties, which were superior to the most used plastic packaging films. The gelatin/r-CNCs films exhibited a moderate water vapor permeability (0.09 g mm/m h kPa), and high tensile strength (40 MPa) and Young's modulus (1.9 GPa). The r-CNCs were more efficient in improving the optical, water vapor barrier and tensile properties of gelatin films than conventional CNCs. Grafting of rosin on CNCs resulted in an antimicrobial nanocellulose that inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The antibacterial properties of r-CNCs were sustained in the gelatin films, as demonstrated by agar diffusion tests and proof-of-principle experiments involving cheese storage. Overall, the incorporation of r-CNCs as active fillers in gelatin films is a suitable approach for producing novel eco-friendly, antimicrobial packaging materials.