The increasing use of energy, food, and materials by the growing population in the world is leading to the situation where alternative solutions from renewable carbon resources are sought after. The growing use of plastics depends on the raw-oil production while oil refining are politically governed and required for the polymer manufacturing is not sustainable in terms of carbon footprint. The amount of packaging is also increasing. Packaging is not only utilising cardboard and paper, but also plastics. The synthetic petroleum-derived plastics and inner-coatings in food packaging can be substituted with polymeric material from the renewable resources. The trees in Finnish forests constitute a huge resource, which ought to be utilised more effectively than it is today. One underutilised component of the forests is the wood-derived hemicelluloses, although Spruce O- acetyl galactoglucomannans (GGMs) have previously shown high potential for material applications and can be recovered in large scale. Hemicelluloses are hydrophilic in their native state, which restrains the use of them for food packaging as non-dry item. To cope with this challenge, we intended to make GGMs more hydrophobic or amphiphilic by chemical grafting and consequently with the focus of using them for barrier applications. Methods of esterification with anhydrides and cationic etherification with a trimethyl ammonium moiety were established. A method of controlled synthesis to obtain the desired properties by the means of altering temperature, reaction time, the quantity of the reagent, and even the solvent for purification of the products was developed. Numerous analytical tools, such as NMR, FTIR, SEC-MALLS/RI, MALDI-TOF-MS, RP-HPLC and polyelectrolyte titration were used to evaluate the products from different perspectives and to acquire parallel proofs of their chemical structure.Modified GGMs with different degree of substitution and the correlating level of hydrophobicity was applied as coatings on cartonboard and on nanofibrillated cellulose-GGM films to exhibit barrier functionality. The water dispersibility in processing was maintained with GGM esters with low DS. The use of chemically functionalised GGM was evaluated for the use as barriers against water, oxygen and grease for the food packaging purposes. The results show undoubtedly that GGM derivatives exhibit high potential to function as a barrier material in food packaging.
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|MoE publication type||G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)|