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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #328757

Research Project: Increasing the Value of Cottonseed

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Chitin nanofibers as reinforcing and antimicrobial agents in carboxymethyl cellulose films: Influence of partial deacetylation

item LI, MEI-CHUN - Louisiana State University
item WU, QINGLIN - Louisiana State University
item SONG, KUNLIN - Louisiana State University
item Cheng, Huai
item SUZUKI, SHIGEHIKO - Shizuoka University
item LEI, TINGZHOU - Henan Key Laboratory Of Biomass Energy

Submitted to: ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2016
Publication Date: 7/6/2016
Citation: Li, M.-C., Wu, Q., Song, K., Cheng, H.N., Suzuki, S., Lei, T. 2016. Chitin nanofibers as reinforcing and antimicrobial agents in carboxymethyl cellulose films: Influence of partial deacetylation. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. 4:4385-4395.

Interpretive Summary: There is a continuing need to find new uses for agri-based biopolymers and to replace petroleum-based raw materials. Food packaging is considered one of the promising product areas for biopolymers. An example of a biopolymer is carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), which is commercially available and approved for food use. However, CMC does not have the mechanical properties needed for packaging applications. In this work chitin nanofibers were produced from crab shells and partially deacetylated. Films made from CMC and the chitin nanofibers showed both good mechanical properties and antimicrobial activities. This information will allow chitin nanofibers to be made from crab shells and a viable food packaging material to be made from a composite of CMC and chitin nanofibers.

Technical Abstract: The development of edible, environmentally friendly, mechanically strong and antimicrobial biopolymer films for active food packaging has gained considerable interest in recent years. The present work deals with the extraction and deacetylation of chitin nanofibers (ChNFs) from crab shells and their utilization as reinforcing and antimicrobial agents in carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) films. ChNFs were successfully isolated from the speckled swimming crab shells for the first time through the multistep procedures involving deproteinization, demineralization, depigmentation and mechanical disintegration. Afterwards, the partially deacetylated ChNFs (dChNFs) were obtained through alkali treatment. It was found that the partial deacetylation led to the exposure of more amino groups on the surface of dChNFs and thus remarkably improved their dispersion state in an aqueous solution. The ChNF/CMC and dChNF/CMC films comprising up to 10 wt % nanofibers were prepared through the solution casting method, and their performance was evaluated and contrasted in terms of mechanical properties and antimicrobial activities. The results showed that the dChNF/CMC films exhibited superior mechanical and antimicrobial performance over ChNF/CMC films at any loadings, demonstrating the importance of ChNF surface chemistry in the development of high performance ChNF/CMC films for antimicrobial food packaging application.