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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #296320

Title: Biodegradable Pectin/clay Aerogels

item CHEN, HONGBING - Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)
item Chiou, Bor-Sen
item WANG, YUZHONG - Sichuan University
item SCHIRALDI, DAVID - Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)

Submitted to: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/13/2013
Publication Date: 2/13/2013
Citation: Chen, H., Chiou, B., Wang, Y., Schiraldi, D.A. 2013. Biodegradable Pectin/clay Aerogels. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 5:1715-1721.

Interpretive Summary: Currently, most foams are petroleum-based and are not biodegradable. These materials can remain in landfills for hundreds of years. We have developed a biodegradable and environmentally-friendly foam made from pectin and nanoclay. Pectin is extracted from fruits, such as apple and peach, and is a renewable resource. This foam uses only water during its production. These foams have comparable mechanical properties to petroleum-based foams and can be an environmentally-friendly alternative to them.

Technical Abstract: Biodegradable, foamlike materials based on renewable pectin and sodium montmorillonite clay were fabricated through a simple, environmentally friendly freeze-drying process. Addition of multivalent cations (Ca2+ and Al3+) resulted in apparent crosslinking of the polymer, and enhancement of aerogel properties. Compressive properties increase with increasing solids content (both pectin and clay); moduli in the range of 0.04-114 MPa were obtained for materials with bulk densities ranging from 0.03 to 0.19 g/cm3, accompanied by microstructure changes from lamellar to cellular structures. Biodegradability of the aerogels was investigated by detecting CO2 release for 4 weeks in compost media. The results revealed that pectin aerogels possessed higher biodegradation rates than wheat starch. The addition of clay and multivalent cations increased the biodegradation rates.