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About this book

This book comprises a collection of chapters on green biopolymer nanocomposites. The book discusses the preparation, properties, and applications of different types of biodegradable polymers. An overview of recent advances in the fabrication of biopolymers nanocomposites from a variety of sources, including organic and inorganic nanomaterials, is presented. The book highlights the importance and impact of eco-friendly green nanocomposites, both environmentally and economically. The contents of this book will prove useful for students, researchers, and professionals working in the field of nanocomposites and green technology.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Green Biopolymers and Its Nanocomposites in Various Applications: State of the Art

The conspectus studies of green bio-polymer and its nanocomposites have been reviewed. It covers the global biodegradable polymer market as well as its research scenarios. It also includes plastic (conventional) waste generation status, recent developments, and trends of green biopolymers and its wide range of applications.
Dhorali Gnanasekaran

Chapter 2. Green Polymer Composites Based on Polylactic Acid (PLA) and Fibers

The increasing demand for environmental and waste management policies globally has motivated researchers to focus on the development of biocomposites from renewable resources such as lignocellulosic materials and biopolymers in order to protect the environment. The release of polymers as waste materials generated a significant problem to the environment after service life. Authorities globally are encouraging people to employ more green materials from renewable resources. Biodegradable polymers from natural resources provide with an excellent opportunity to reduce the reliance on petroleum-derived polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene. Among the well-known biodegradable polymers, polylactic acid (PLA) has a huge commercial potential because of its good biocompatibility, aesthetics, and easy processability in different mixing techniques. Polylactic acid is a biodegradable from renewable resources such as starch and corn. Currently, attention has been paid to the use of bio-reinforced composites which are applied in automotive, construction, and packaging applications. This chapter discusses the current research efforts, challenges, different preparation methods, and applications of polylactic acid (PLA)/fiber composites.
Mokgaotsa Jonas Mochane, Teboho Clement Mokhena, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, S. S. Ray, T. G. Mofokeng

Chapter 3. Opportunities for PLA and Its Blends in Various Applications

PLA is one of the promising biopolymer featuring unique properties such as excellent biodegradability, biocompatibility, good mechanical strength and easy processability. Although its properties are comparable to synthetic polymers, its success is impeded by its cost and brittleness. In order to further extend its applicability in different fields, blending with other cheaper and ductile/flexible polymers has been subjecting of the research since its introduction early in the 1880s. It is recognized that direct blending usually results in unanticipated properties because of PLA immiscibility with other polymers. In this chapter, we discuss the challenges faced in direct blending PLA with other polymers and the use of compatibilizers and/or plasticizers to improve the processability and/or performance of the resulting blend. The opportunities and progress made with some strategies to minimize the immiscibility of PLA with other biopolymers are also discussed. We concluded with future trends and recommendations that should enable the production of high-end performance PLA-based bio-blends.
Teboho Clement Mokhena, Mokgaotsa Jonas Mochane, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, O. Agboola, Maya Jacob John

Chapter 4. Biocomposite Reinforced with Nanocellulose for Packaging Applications

The extraction of nanocellulose from cellulosic fibers and development of nanocellulose-based composites and materials have revolutionized the field of renewable and sustainable materials. Nanocellulose is rod-like nanoparticles, which can be obtained from various sources like cotton, wood, agricultural residues, and bacteria. There are mainly two types of nanocellulose: cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) which are produced by chemical treatment method and cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) which are obtained by mechanical or chemical treatments. Both materials exhibit unique and useful properties like abundance, renewability, excellent mechanical property, optical property, non-toxicity, tunable surface chemistry, eco-friendliness, and low cost. These properties make nanocellulose of great interest for the application in the field of food packaging. This book chapter aims to provide an overview of the recent developments in nanocellulose-reinforced composites for packaging applications.
Anand Babu Perumal, Periyar Selvam Sellamuthu, Reshma B. Nambiar, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, O. A. Adeyeye

Chapter 5. The Use of Chitosan in Food Packaging Applications

Chitosan (1, 4-linked 2-amino-deoxy-β-D-glucan) is obtained by the chitin deacetylation; after cellulose, it is the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature. Chitosan is non-toxic, biocompatible, biodegradable, and susceptible to chemical modifications and exhibits good antimicrobial properties against fungi, bacteria, and yeast. Chitosan also exhibits improved gas barrier property and water permeability; therefore, chitosan is regarded as an eco-friendly food packaging material which could be an excellent alternative to synthetic polymer-based packaging material. However, the major drawback of pure chitosan is their reduced mechanical and thermal properties, solubility only in acidic solutions, and loss of antibacterial activity at pH > 6.5, which limits its application. To eliminate these problems, chitosan is usually blended with polymers like cellulose, nanocellulose, starch, montmorillonite, gelatin. This chapter gives an overview of the chitosan polymers, its properties, and the ability to be used in food packaging industry.
Reshma B. Nambiar, Periyar Selvam Sellamuthu, Anand Babu Perumal, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, O. A. Adeyeye

Chapter 6. The Use of Biopolymers in Food Packaging

From manufacturing, distribution, storage, and consumption phase of any product, packaging materials play vital roles. They are designed to be able to safeguard, contain, and handle products for onward-distribution either as raw materials or ready-to-eat food products. However, current food-packaging innovations are driving toward the use of materials with light in order to achieve the reduction of high raw materials, low transportation cost, lessen waste and wide areas for storage. This goal is achievable with the use of biopolymers because of their great advantages. Disposing massive quantities of wastes generated by non-biodegradable packaging material pave ways for the study of biopolymers as alternative materials for food packaging. Also, the increase in prices of petrochemicals and environmental effects now push up material development made from natural polymeric materials for various applications in food-packaging materials, which are more consumer-friendly. This study looks deep to food-packaging materials made from biopolymers. Their types, sources, advantages, limitations as well as future innovations are discussed.
O. A. Adeyeye, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, Abbavaram Babu Reddy, Abongile S. Ndamase, G. Makgatho, Periyar Selvam Sellamuthu, Anand Babu Perumal, Reshma B. Nambiar, Victoria Oluwaseun Fasiku, Idowu David Ibrahim, O. Agboola, Williams Kehinde Kupolati, Oluyemi O. Daramola, Mokgaotsa Jonas Machane, Tamba Jamiru

Chapter 7. Nanostructured Green Biopolymer Composites for Orthopedic Application

We currently live in a world where the wheel of advancing human civilization is constantly being spun by the dynamics of modern technologies. Technologies that have spawned a paradigm shift in the realm of material selection for their effective functionalities. Consequently, synthetic polymers and their lightweight counterparts in terms of materials’ choice hierarchy for a plethora of applications have assumed a level-pegging situation. On the one hand, the topical ubiquity of synthetic polymers in every area of our lives has extensively stretched the fabric of comfortability zones within our reach. This can be credited to their large array of attractive characteristics like light weight, good corrosion resistant property, mold/fungus resistance, inexpensiveness together with ease of processability. On the other hand, critical issues concerning their sustainability and environmental impacts have called for reformative and disciplinary actions, respectively. Thus, it has become imperative to seek suitable alternatives deficient of the foregoing shortcomings. Interestingly enough, thorough research into green chemistry, waste re-evaluation, natural materials exploitation and materials synthesis technologies seems to have all the answers to the foregoing query. The resultant consensus amid polymer scientists is a paradigm shift from synthetic polymers to green biopolymers. This chapter discusses the sources, types, and applications of nanostructured green biopolymers. Much emphasis is laid on their orthopedic applications in a quest to address the ongoing debate on “whether the most feasible areas to apply green biopolymers is in biomedicine or not?”
Oluyemi O. Daramola, Jimmy Lolu Olajide, Stephen Chinenyeze Agwuncha, Mokgaotsa Jonas Mochane, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku

Chapter 8. Bionanopolymers for Drug Delivery

Drug delivery in the field of medicine is a system that was developed mainly for the purpose of releasing, localizing, and targeting drugs at a particular site in the body, at the right time, period, and dose. The use of natural biopolymers in drug delivery systems dates back to as far as 1970. This is due to the uniqueness of their properties, especially their ability to undergo biodegradation. The use of these biopolymers have contributed largely to the advancement of this technology by adding its own properties to the drugs. Biopolymers like polysaccharides, polyesters, and polyamides are few examples of natural biopolymers employed for this application. They are produced by microorganisms and the fact that the microorganisms can be genetically manipulated gives room for the production of a wide range of biopolymers. Their existence ranges from viscous solutions to even plastics. Also, their physical properties depend on the composition of the biopolymer as well as its molecular weight. The ability to produce natural biopolymers with personalized properties via biotechnological techniques opens them up to several medical applications such as drug delivery. The properties, structure, synthesis, and most importantly the application of some natural biopolymers in drug delivery will be discussed in this chapter.
Victoria Oluwaseun Fasiku, S. J. Owonubi, E. Mukwevho, B. A. Aderibigbe, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, Y. Lemmer, Abbavaram Babu Reddy, B. Manjula, C. Nkuna, M. K. Dludlu, O. A. Adeyeye, K. Varaprasad, J. Tippabattini

Chapter 9. Polylactic Acid-Based Nanocomposites: An Important Class of Biodegradable Composites

This chapter discusses the different classes of polylactic acid-based nanocomposites, their structure-property relationships and their wide range of potential applications in the various fields such as biomedical, food packaging, automobiles, agriculture and renewable sources.
M. Ameer Ali, A. Shanavas

Chapter 10. Biopolymers in Medicine

Biopolymers and their nanocomposites have made tremendous progress as a result of their biofunctionality, biocompactibility and biodegradability. These attributes make them resorbable while they serve as a vehicle for drug delivery for healing, skin regeneration and skin grafting. Materials that have been developed for this purpose are hydrolytically sensitive biocellulosics, furan-based polymers, polyesters and their amides, polypeptides, polysaccharides, polyphosphazenes, polyanhydrides, polyurethanes and pseudo-polyamino acids, to mention a few. These polymers may be synthesized into hydrogels, spun into fibres and fabricated into fibrous scaffolds, for medical applications. The technology as it evolves tends to seek ways of achieving drug delivery for living cells replication by serving as drug carriers. The drugs may be synthetic nanoparticles or sourced from natural and renewable materials such as metabolic extracts, antibiotics, antiseptics and antimicrobial drugs from medicinal plants which may be encapsulated into the resorbable biopolymer. The future holds interesting promises for this class of polymers in the areas of biomedicine, skin grafting, wound healing and regeneration. These materials may be introduced into biological systems by surgical procedures or grafting techniques. With the proven efficacy of this technology, more researches will definitely be carried out on biopolymer materials and their nanocomposites for regenerative and reconstructive medicine.
Nnamdi C. Iheaturu, Ihuoma V. Diwe, Betty Chima, Oluyemi O. Daramola, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku

Chapter 11. Polymeric Nanomaterials for Drug Delivery

Drug delivery systems are used to deliver on target, diseases, ailments, and unhealthy body. In biomedical science, polymeric systems and nanomaterials play a significant role because they serve as carriers for sending therapeutic agents specifically into the proposed site of action, with predominant viability, and with no adverse or toxic effects. Nanoparticulate delivery systems are designed to efficiently control particle size, morphology, improve infiltration, elasticity, solubility, and discharge of therapeutically active agents so as to achieve the objective and explicit action at a foreordained rate and time. Furthermore, some plants grown in sub-Saharan Africa, and their extracts, are found to contain bioactive compounds for medicinal purposes. Several investigations have been done to ascertain the efficacy of the plant extracts for the purpose of healing. This chapter takes a look at polymeric drug delivery systems, their morphology, nanomaterials and particulates used for treatment, some plant extracts, mechanisms of drug delivery, and risks associated with their usage and applications.
Nnamdi C. Iheaturu, Ihuoma V. Diwe, Oluyemi O. Daramola, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku

Chapter 12. Synthesis of Polymeric Biomaterial for Medicine and Surgery

New polymer materials for medical applications are the reason for some successes recorded in medicine and surgery. Current research and development (R&D) efforts are geared toward the upgrading of techniques and devices for more compelling and productive processing and application of biomaterials in medicine and surgery. The application of outcomes of such R&D efforts has led to recorded successes in the treatment of nagging health-related issues, wherein polymeric biomaterials are technically deployed in today’s healthcare technology. For wound healing, for instance, three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds may be designed to have a wide scope of properties which incorporate suitable surface science, porosity with pore measurements from large-scale to submicron and interconnectivity systems, which enable cell-to-cell communication and migration, cell multiplication, and separation, lastly to keep up the biocompatibility and basic honesty all through the tissue recovery process. Fabrication procedures of biocompatible 3D scaffolds and hydrogels with suitable architectures may be achieved via the conventional method of synthesis or rapid prototyping. On account of hydrogels, chemical cross-linking prompts the development of permanent junction-type networks, while physical cross-linking permits the arrangement of transient junction-type networks. These possibilities give credences to the relentless efforts of R&D in the synthesis of more stable polymeric biomaterials for medical applications.
Nnamdi C. Iheaturu, Ihuoma V. Diwe, Alma Tamunonengiofori Banigo, Oluyemi O. Daramola, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku

Chapter 13. Synthesis of Bio-Based and Eco-Friendly Nanomaterials for Medical and BioMedical Applications

Without a doubt, petroleum-based resources have caused in increased interests in bio-renewable polymer-based, relatively cheap, readily available and environmentally friendly materials. These interests are growing in leaps and bounds and have and continue to elicit even greater interest in order to come up with new resources that are less unfavorable in terms of the environment, health and cost of production. This quest has led to exploration of producing composites and nanocomposites, especially, those with polymer substrates for use in various applications, including: automotive, aerospace, electronics, civil, medical and biomedical, drug delivery, sensors and actuators and many other fields of human endeavors. In this regard, noble metal nanoparticles (NPs) are intensively used for medical specialty applications like drug delivery and tissue engineering. This is because of their very unique and exceptional physicochemical and optoelectronic properties. In this chapter, the focus will mainly be based on the various techniques for green biosynthesis of composites and nanocomposites, specifically, for applications in medical and biomedical fields. Very briefly, mention will be made in other fields of application.
Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, O. Agboola, Idowu David Ibrahim, Abbavaram Babu Reddy, M. Bandla, P. N. Mabalane, Williams Kehinde Kupolati, J. Tippabattini, K. Varaprasad, K. A. Areo, C. A. Uwa, Azunna Agwo Eze, Stephen Chinenyeze Agwuncha, B. O. Oboirien, T. A. Adesola, C. Nkuna, I. A. Aderibigbe, S. J. Owonubi, Victoria Oluwaseun Fasiku, B. A. Aderibigbe, V. O. Ojijo, D. Desai, R. Dunne, K. Selatile, G. Makgatho, M. L. Lethabane, O. F. Ogunbiyi, O. T. Adesina, O. F. Biotidara, Periyar Selvam Sellamuthu, Reshma B. Nambiar, Anand Babu, M. K. Dludlu, A. O. Adeboje, O. A. Adeyeye, S. Sanni, Abongile S. Ndamase, G. F. Molelekwa, K. Raj Kumar, J. Jayaramudu, Oluyemi O. Daramola, Mokgaotsa Jonas Mochane, T. C. Mokhane, Nnamdi C. Iheaturu, O. Adedoja, Yskandar Hamam, B. Khalaf

Chapter 14. Biopolymer Composites and Bionanocomposites for Energy Applications

An alternative and/or improved material for the energy sector is of major concern due to the advancement in the sector and the hazardous environmental impact of the current materials in use. Weight is also an issue when it comes to materials for energy generation, conversion, and storage. Bio-polymeric materials are currently being considered as an alternative option due to the inherent properties such as high strength-to-weight ratio, biodegradability, renewability, biocompatibility and cost-effectiveness. Based on these properties and the potentials of biopolymers, the composite materials are considered viable. The main focus of this chapter is on energy applications of biopolymers. The chapter also briefly explains the types, areas of application, properties and the reasons for the selection of biopolymers in the energy, biomedical and packaging sector. Finally, the study presents the future trend of biopolymers for energy applications.
Idowu David Ibrahim, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, Tamba Jamiru, Yskandar Hamam, Yasser Alayli, Azunna Agwo Eze, Williams Kehinde Kupolati

Chapter 15. Biopolymers and Nanocomposites in Civil Engineering Applications

In a new dawn of environmental degradation resulting from the unplanned use of conventional material resources, there is a renewed urge for extensive research and innovation on the beneficial use of biopolymers and nanocomposites for civil engineering applications. The chapter examines in depth the applications of biopolymers and nanocomposites in civil engineering infrastructures in order to meet the twin targets of sustainability and environmental friendliness which are vital to the continued life on earth.
Williams Kehinde Kupolati, Emmanuel Rotimi Sadiku, Antonio Frattari, Adeyemi Oluwaseun Adeboje, Chewe Kambole, Kobe Samuel Mojapelo, Matsobane Ronald Maite, Neo Motsilanyane, Wynand Bezuidenhout, Azunna Agwo Eze, Idowu David Ibrahim, Beltran Junior Labana, Taoreed Adesola Adegbola, Jacques Snyman, Ranthekeng Jones Moloisane, Ronald Fransiscus Anna Berkers

Chapter 16. Preparation, Characterization, Types and Applications of Polysaccharide Nanocomposites

The threat of in-appropriate discard of polymer to the environment can be tackled by using a suitable biodegradable polymeric material like the polysaccharide. Materials of various mechanical and thermal properties based on the need can be synthesized by using polysaccharide reinforced with compatible nanostructures. These types of composites can be a potential alternative for the conventional materials. The nanocomposites made from biopolymer are having the advantages such as good reinforcing capacity, high specific mechanical strength, less energy consumption, high strength for its weight ratio and good biodegradability over conventional inorganic filler materials. Reinforcing with polysaccharide nanoparticles has many advantages such as good compatibility which poses them as ideal materials in the processing stages of nano-polymer composites for medicinal applications. The properties like biocompatibility and antimicrobial properties are very well used in the fields of biomedicine. The nanocomposites are finding immense applications in electrical, electronic and mechanical fields, based on their physical properties. This chapter summarizes current knowledge on polysaccharides, nanocomposite preparation using various methods, different types of nanocomposites, properties of nanocomposites based on the structure and their applications.
S. Gowthami, S. Angayarkanny

Chapter 17. A Review on Versatile Applications of Degradable Polymers

More than three trillion tonnes of macro-plastics and microplastics dumped into our environment causes irreversible damage to our ecosystem. Removing these non-biodegradable materials is beyond the skill of the human capacity even with the best available technologies. One of the best scientific approaches to resolve this issue is to develop degradable and eco-friendly materials known as green composites. A green composite should consist of eco-friendly properties such as quick degradation, non-toxic product release to the environment, eco-recycling, and easy solubility in water. Materials of both synthetic and natural origin could play a significant role in achieving the objective of preserving our environment and sustained growth. To accelerate the degradation of non-biodegradable polymers, additives are added to speed up the process. Oxo-degradable polymers come under this category. Polymers with hydrolyzable backbone degrade fast in aqueous environments. Aliphatic polyesters, polyglycolide, polylactide, polycaprolactum, poly(butylene succinate), and polyurethane, are some of the easily hydrolyzable materials of synthetic origin. Proteins from animal and vegetable origin, polysaccharides, are green materials of natural origin. Recently, hybrid materials consisting of both synthetic and natural origin green composites have been developed for advanced applications. Application of the green composites involves packaging industry, controlled release of nutrients and pesticides in agriculture, biomedical, automotive, and electronics applications. Immense opportunities are available to develop green materials and the best research efforts have been taken by humanity to make our environment safe. In this chapter, a review of versatile applications of degradable polymers is presented.
B. Jothimani, B. Venkatachalapathy, N. S. Karthikeyan, C. Ravichandran

Chapter 18. Magnetic Cellulose Green Nanocomposite Adsorbents for the Removal of Heavy Metal Ions in Water/Wastewater

In the recent days, control of water contamination and treatment of wastewater is a challenging task throughout the globe because of their impact on human health. The most commonly employed method for the removal of organic pollutants especially toxic heavy metal ions from water/wastewater is adsorption using an adsorbent. There are various types of adsorbents available ranging from synthetic polymers like chelating resins, ion-exchange resins, polystyrene, and sulfonate resins. However, high cost and regeneration difficulties are associated with the use of these synthetic polymer adsorbents. In view of the above difficulties, researchers are focusing on the development of low-cost adsorbents from naturally available green biopolymers like polysaccharides. Cellulose is one among the most frequently used green polysaccharide to prepare various types of functional adsorbent materials at low cost. Even though, cellulose alone could not give a satisfactory performance on the adsorption or chelation of heavy metal ions from water/wastewater solution. To improve the adsorption capacity and achieve easy separation of cellulose-based green adsorbents, the magnetization of the adsorbent is a significant and efficient route. Magnetic adsorbent materials provide excellent water purification without any contaminants and also have the ability to treat large quantities of water/wastewater within a short span of time. Often, iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe2O3/Fe3O4) had been utilized for environmental remediation because of their superior advantages such as large surface area, biocompatibility, less energy requirement, low toxicity, and better separation ability. This chapter will provide a broader perspective of magnetic cellulose green nanocomposites and their use as an adsorbent for the removal of toxic heavy metal ions from water/wastewater.
K. Seeni Meera, D. Arunbabu
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