Antimicrobial and Conductive Nanocellulose-Based Films for Active and Intelligent Food Packaging.


Department of Chemistry, CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal. [Email]


Bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) is becoming an important substrate for engineering multifunctional nanomaterials with singular and tunable properties for application in several domains. Here, antimicrobial conductive nanocomposites composed of poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate) (PSBMA) and BNC were fabricated as freestanding films for application in food packaging. The nanocomposite films were prepared through the one-pot polymerization of sulfobetaine methacrylate (SBMA) inside the BNC nanofibrous network and in the presence of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate as cross-linking agent. The ensuing films are macroscopically homogeneous, more transparent than pristine BNC, and present thermal stability up to 265 °C in a nitrogen atmosphere. Furthermore, the films have good mechanical performance (Young's modulus ≥ 3.1 GPa), high water-uptake capacity (450-559%) and UV-blocking properties. The zwitterion film with 62 wt.% cross-linked PSBMA showed bactericidal activity against Staphylococcus aureus (4.3-log CFU mL-1 reduction) and Escherichia coli (1.1-log CFU mL-1 reduction), and proton conductivity ranging between 1.5 × 10-4 mS cm-1 (40 °C, 60% relative humidity (RH)) and 1.5 mS cm-1 (94 °C, 98% RH). Considering the current set of properties, PSBMA/BNC nanocomposites disclose potential as films for active food packaging, due to their UV-barrier properties, moisture scavenging ability, and antimicrobial activity towards pathogenic microorganisms responsible for food spoilage and foodborne illness; and also for intelligent food packaging, due to the proton motion relevant for protonic-conduction humidity sensors that monitor food humidity levels.


active food packaging,antimicrobial activity,bacterial nanocellulose,intelligent food packaging,moisture scavengers,nanocomposite films,poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate),protonic conductivity,