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It is expected that biopolymers obtained from renewable resources will in due course become fully competitive with fossil fuel-derived plastics as food-packaging materials. In this context, biopolymer nanocomposites are a field of emerging interest since such materials can exhibit improved mechanical and barrier properties and be more suitable for a wider range of food-packaging applications. Natural or synthetic clay nanofillers are being investigated for this purpose in a project called NanoPack funded by the Danish Strategic Research Council. In order to detect and characterize the size of clay nanoparticulates, an analytical system combining asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (AF4) with multi-angle light-scattering detection (MALS) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is presented. In a migration study, we tested a biopolymer nanocomposite consisting of polylactide (PLA) with 5% Cloisite®30B (a derivatized montmorillonite clay) as a filler. Based on AF4-MALS analyses, we found that particles ranging from 50 to 800 nm in radius indeed migrated into the 95% ethanol used as a food simulant. The full hyphenated AF4-MALS-ICP-MS system showed, however, that none of the characteristic clay minerals was detectable, and it is concluded that clay nanoparticles were absent in the migrate. Finally, by means of centrifugation experiments, a platelet aspect ratio of 320 was calculated for montmorillonite clay using AF4-MALS for platelet size measurements.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants Part A
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1619-1627
StatePublished - 2009
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 44


  • Biopolymers, Solar energy
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ID: 3994246