In Brazil, researchers at São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Ilha Solteira have developed a film that can replace plastic in food packaging. The film is made from hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) and bacterial cellulose scraps leftover from industrial processing. Both raw materials are sustainable. They are combined to produce a biodegradable film of bacterial cellulose nanocrystals and HPMC.
The product outperforms film made of HPMC alone. An article on the research project, which was supported by FAPESP, is published in the journal Applied Material & Interfaces.
“We set out to fill the HMPC matrix with bacterial cellulose nanocrystals in order to enhance its properties. We also wanted to create greener protocols for the development of novel composites, from the material itself to its origin, so we included the reuse of industrial waste in the project,” said Márcia Regina de Moura Aouada, a co-author of the article.