Title: PLA fibers with antimicrobial properties developed by solution blow spinning Authors
Submitted to: Annual Meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 9, 2012
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The present work reports on the development and characterization of novel Poly(lactic acid) hybrid fibers with antimicrobial properties produced by solution blow spinning. This technique presents additional advantages over conventional electrospinning, such as reduced cost and higher rate of fiber production. In the first part of the study, bacterial cellulose nanowhiskers (BCNW) were incorporated into the fibers with loadings up to 30 wt.-% and the morphology, rheological and thermal properties of hybrid fibers were investigated. Bacterial cellulose was selected as the reinforcing agent due to its unique properties, such as high crystallinity, high degree of purity, low density and biocompatibility. Morphological studies revealed that BCNW were homogeneously distributed along PLA fibers and average diameters tended to decrease with nanofiller incorporation. Additionally, DSC results showed that BCNW acted as nucleating agents, decreasing the cold crystallization temperature and increasing the crystallinity of PLA. Hybrid fibers also showed improved thermal stability compared to pure PLA fibers. To confer antimicrobial properties to PLA fibers, both carvacrol and tetracycline hydrochloride (THC) were incorporated into the fibers. In addition, Pollock gelatin and BCNW were added to modify controlled release properties. The addition of gelatin was shown to be critical for the release of the antimicrobial agents. Whereas pure PLA fibers loaded with THC and carvacrol showed relatively low or even no antimicrobial effect, hybrid PLA-gelatin fibers showed inhibitory effects against listeria, with THC loaded fibers being the most effective. The effect of incorporating BCNW was different depending on the antimicrobial agent. While their incorporation was detrimental for carvacrol loaded fibers, a stronger inhibitory effect was observed for THC loaded fibers. These results highlight the potential of blow spinning as a method to generate PLA fibers with antimicrobial properties in food packaging and biomedical applications.