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.
- Solar energy
Schmidt, B., Petersen, J. H., Koch, C. B., Plackett, D., Johansen, N. R., Katiyar, V., & Larsen, E. H. (2009). Combining asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation with light-scattering and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric detection for characterization of nanoclay used in biopolymer nanocomposites. Food Additives and Contaminants Part A, 26(12), 1619-1627. https://doi.org/10.1080/02652030903225740