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Exploring chitosan-plant extract bilayer coatings: Advancements in active food packaging via polypropylene modification
Saša Kaloper, Olivija Plohl, Sonja Smole Možina, Alenka Vesel, Vida Šimat, Lidija Fras Zemljič, 2024, original scientific article

Abstract: UV-ozone activated polypropylene (PP) food films were subjected to a novel bilayer coating process involving primary or quaternary chitosan (CH/QCH) as the first layer and natural extracts from juniper needles (Juniperus oxycedrus; JUN) or blackberry leaves (Rubus fruticosus; BBL) as the second layer. This innovative approach aims to redefine active packaging (AP) development. Through a detailed analysis by surface characterization and bioactivity assessments (i.e., antioxidant and antimicrobial functionalities), we evaluated different coating combinations. Furthermore, we investigated the stability and barrier characteristics inherent in these coatings. The confirmed deposition, coupled with a comprehensive characterization of their composition and morphology, underscored the efficacy of the coatings. Our investigation included wettability assessment via contact angle (CA) measurements, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), which revealed substantial enhancements in surface concentrations of elements and functional groups of CH, QCH, JUN, and BBL. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) unveiled the coatings' heterogeneity, while time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) and CA profiling showed moderately compact bilayers on PP, providing active species on the hydrophilic surface, respectively. The coatings significantly reduced the oxygen permeability. Additionally, single-layer depositions of CH and QCH remained below the overall migration limit (OML). Remarkably, the coatings exhibited robust antioxidative properties due to plant extracts and exceptional antimicrobial activity against S. aureus, attributed to QCH. These findings underscore the pivotal role of film surface properties in governing bioactive characteristics and offer a promising pathway for enhancing food packaging functionality.
Keywords: chitosan, plant extracts, polypropylene, active packaging, surface characterization, bioactivity
Published in DKUM: 27.05.2024; Views: 138; Downloads: 2
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Comparative study of hydrothermal decomposition of virgin and recycled polypropylene
Mihael Irgolič, Maja Čolnik, Petra Kotnik, Lidija Čuček, Mojca Škerget, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Plastics are widely used due to their versatile properties and numerous applications. However, the proper management of plastic waste is a major challenge, even though it is recyclable. The process of repeated recycling can cause the quality of the material to decrease as unwanted contaminants and pollutants increase. This can affect the chemical recycling of plastics at the end of their life and the recovery of secondary products that can be used in other applications. In this study, the chemical degradation of virgin polypropylene (vPP) and recycled polypropylene (rPP) was investigated in supercritical water at a temperature of 450 °C and a reaction time of 15 to 240 min. The oil phase was the primary decomposition product and was obtained in high yield, which reached a maximum after 30 min of reaction time and was 96.9 % for vPP and 94.5 % for rPP. The results of our study show that there are some differences in the product composition depending on which material (vPP or rPP) is chemically recycled.
Keywords: virgin polypropylene, plastics, chemical degradation, chemical recycled
Published in DKUM: 18.04.2024; Views: 131; Downloads: 2
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Dopamine-assisted modification of polypropylene film to attain hydrophilic mineral-rich surfaces
Alenka Ojstršek, Angela Chemelli, Azra Osmić, Selestina Gorgieva, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: The presented study focuses on the modification of polypropylene (PP) film with tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) under heterogeneous conditions via polydopamine/polyethylene imine (PDA/PEI) chemistry using a facile dip-coating procedure to attain hydrophilic mineral-rich surfaces. Thus, the resulting PP-based films were further immersed in ion-rich simulated body fluid (SBF) to deposit Ca-based minerals onto the film’s surfaces efficiently. In addition, the chemical reaction mechanism on PP film was proposed, and mineralisation potential inspected by determination of functional groups of deposits, zeta potential, hydrophilicity and surface morphology/topography using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, streaming potential, water contact angle (WCA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The obtained results show the improved wettability of samples on account of PDA inclusion (WCA was reduced from 103° for pure PP film to 28° for PDA-modified film), as well as the presence of functional groups, due to the PDA/PEI/TEOS surface functionalisation, increased the ability of minerals to nucleate on the PP film’s surface when it was exposed to an SBF medium. Moreover, the higher surface roughness due to the silica coatings influenced the enhanced anchoring and attachment of calcium phosphate (CaP), revealing the potential of such a facile approach to modify the chemically inert PP films, being of particular interest in different fields, including regenerative medicine.
Keywords: polypropylene film, dopamine-assisted modification, hydrophilicity, mineralization
Published in DKUM: 15.03.2024; Views: 235; Downloads: 4
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Chemical recycling of polyolefins waste materials using supercritical water
Maja Čolnik, Petra Kotnik, Željko Knez, Mojca Škerget, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: In the following work, the hydrothermal degradation of polypropylene waste (PP) using supercritical water (SCW) has been studied. The procedure was carried out in a high-pressure, high-temperature batch reactor at 425 °C and 450 °C from 15 to 240 min. The results show a high yield of the oil (up to 95%) and gas (up to 20%) phases. The gained oil phase was composed of alkanes, alkenes, cycloalkanes, aromatic hydrocarbons, and alcohols. Alkanes and alcohols predominated at 425 °C and shorter reaction times, while the content of aromatic hydrocarbons sharply increased at higher temperatures and times. The higher heating values (HHVs) of oil phases were in the range of liquid fuel (diesel, gasoline, crude and fuel oil), and they were between 48 and 42 MJ/kg. The gas phase contained light hydrocarbons (C1–C6), where propane was the most represented component. The results for PP degradation obtained in the present work were compared to the results of SCW degradation of colored PE waste, and the potential degradation mechanism of polyolefins waste in SCW is proposed. The results allowed to conclude that SCW processing technology represents a promising and eco-friendly tool for the liquefaction of polyolefin (PE and PP) waste into oil with a high conversion rate.
Keywords: polypropylene, polyolefins, supercritical water, plastics waste, chemical recycling
Published in DKUM: 18.09.2023; Views: 490; Downloads: 16
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Regulation of metabolic changes in shredded cabbage by modified atmosphere packaging
Andrej Plestenjak, Tomaž Požrl, Janez Hribar, Tatjana Unuk, Rajko Vidrih, 2008, original scientific article

Abstract: The influence of different storage conditions on the storability of packaged shredded cabbage has been studied. The cabbage cultivar Fieldrocket was cut and packaged in glass jars and in polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) film. Several initial atmospheres were established within the packaged cut cabbage: 100 % N2, 5 % O2/95 % N2, 10 % O2/90 % N2, normal atmosphere (NA), 70 % O2/30 % N2 and 100 % O2. Samples were stored at two different temperatures of 0 and 10 °C for 7 days. Variation in CO2 and O2 concentrations was higher at 10 °C compared to 0 °C and the highest at the atmosphere consisting of 70 % O2/30 % N2. A decrease of O2 below 3–5 % and an increase of CO2 above 2–5 % in the packed product resulted in the appearance of anaerobic metabolism. An initial atmosphere consisting of 100 % O2, and a storage temperature of 0 °C resulted in delayed anaerobic metabolism compared to other atmospheric conditions and storage temperature of 10 °C. Rinsing of fresh cut cabbage also resulted in lower accumulation of acetaldehyde and ethanol. A higher variation in CO2 and O2 concentrations, and consequent accumulation of anaerobic metabolites had a negative influence on the sensorial properties of the cut cabbage. The higher permeability of PE film compared to PP and glass enabled faster exchange of CO2 and O2, which resulted in lower accumulation of anaerobic metabolites. However, a higher O2 concentration had a negative influence on the colour of fresh-cut cabbage. The best results were achieved by packing the fresh-cut cabbage in PE film with an initial atmosphere of 100 % O2 and stored at 0 °C.
Keywords: cabbage, modified atmosphere, packaging, polyethylene, polypropylene, respiration, anaerobic metabolism
Published in DKUM: 24.07.2017; Views: 1238; Downloads: 94
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The adhesion phenomena in polypropylene/wollastonite composites
Iztok Švab, Vojko Musil, Mirela Leskovac, 2005, original scientific article

Abstract: Modification of polypropylene (PP) with wollastonite fillers was investigated in this paper. Three types of different silane pretreated wollastonite mineral filler were used for preparation of binary PP/wollastonite composites. The composite samples were homogenized in a Brabender Plasti-Corder kneading chamber and compression moulded into plates on a laboratory press. The adhesion between the wollastonite fillers used in this study and the PP matrix was predicted on the basis of the calculated adhesion parameters (work of adhesion, interfacial free energy and spreading coefficient) obtained by the surface free energy of pure materials. The contact angle method was used to determine surface free energy of components. The obtained values of adhesion parameters at the interface in the composites were correlated with mechanical properties as well as morphology observations of corresponding composites and were proved to be in relatively good agreement with the mechanical property measurements. Stronger adhesion in investigated composites has reflected in higher yield stress and tensile strength at break but in lower elongation at break and impact resistance.
Keywords: polypropylene composites, wollastonite, surface energy, adhesion, morphology, mechanical properties
Published in DKUM: 10.07.2015; Views: 1696; Downloads: 111
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Selestina Gorgieva, 2014, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: This work presents the methodological study, processing and optimization of novel, technologically acceptable procedure for in situ coating of polypropylene (PP) mesh (used for hernia treatment) with physico-chemically, mechanically and micro-structurally different gelatin (GEL) scaffolds to assess implant composite biocompatibility impact. In order to systematically follow the experimental work progress and respective achievements, whole research path is subdivided into three main sections. In the first section, the procedure for fabrication of gradiently micro-porous GELscaffolds on the cryo-unit’s cooling plate surface, using spatiotemporal and temperature- controlled gelation and freezing, followed by lyophylizaton was studied. Subsequently, cross-linking procedure using different molarities of reagents (EDC and NHS) and reaction media (100% PBS or 20/80% PBS/EtOH mixture) was performed for variable time extensions (1-24 h), rendering scaffolds physico-chemical properties. In this way, scaffolds with micro-structures having porosity gradient from 100 µm to 1000 µm and pores with rounded to ellipsoid morphology were formed, which, in combination with ethanol (EtOH) addition in cross-linking media modulates the swelling capacity towards twice lower percentages (~600%) comparing with scaffolds cross-linked in 100% PBS. Whilst the presence of EtOH reduce the cross-linking kinetic by retaining the scaffolds’ micro-structure formed during freezing, the 100% PBS and higher EDC molarity resulted in 40% cross-linking degree, being expressed as a thermal resistance up to 73 °C. The presented integral fabrication procedure was shown to allow tuning of both, the physical and micro-structural properties of scaffold, utilized in preparation of materials for specific biomedical applications. In the second part, the complex relation between surface and interface-related physico-chemical properties and gradient micro-structuring of 3D GELscaffolds, being fabricated by simultaneous temperature- controlled freeze-thawing cycles and in situ cross-linking using variable conditions (pH and molarity of carbodiimide reagent) and fibroblast cells viability (by tracking of their spreading and morphology) was established. Rarely- populated cells with rounded morphology and small elongations were observed on scaffolds with apparently negatively- charged surface with a lower cross-linking degree (CD) and consequently higher molecular mobility and availability of cell-recognition sequences, in comparison with the prominently- elongated and densely- populated cells on a scaffold’s with positively- charged surface, higher CD and lower mobility. Surface micro-structure effect was demonstrated by cell’s vacuolization and their pure inter-communication being present on scaffold’s bottom side with smaller pores (25±19 µm) and thinner pore walls (9±5 µm), over the air- exposed side with twice bigger pores (56±38 µm) and slightly thicker pore walls (12±6 µm). Strong correlation of preparation conditions (pH and reagents molarity) with CD (r2=0.96) and moderate correlation with local molecular mobility (r2 =-0.44), as well as micro-structure features being related to temperature gradient, imply on possibility to modulate scaffold’s properties in a direction to guide cell’s viability and most likely its genotype development. The third part presents an innovative strategy for the fabrication of bio-active PPmesh-GELscaffold composites with a potential for abdominal hernia treatment, where mesothelial cells in-growth have to be stimulated together with fibroblasts on-site proliferation, while formation of fibrin-developing, viscera-to-abdominal wall adhesions should be reduced, together with bacteria- related infections. In this respect, the plasma pre-activated PPmesh was coated with micro-structured GELscaffold, with pore size in 50 µm to 100 µm range at the upper-side and loosely- porous network at the composite bottom side, being modulated by sample thickness and freezing end- temperature applied. Simultaneously, the
Keywords: gelatin, targeted cross-linking, controlled freezing, gradiental micro-porosity, scaffold, surface and interface chemistry, physico-mechanical properties, polypropylene mesh, composite, biocompatibility.
Published in DKUM: 07.05.2014; Views: 2297; Downloads: 169
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