Poly-Lactic Acid: Production, Applications, Nanocomposites, and Release Studies

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Abstract

Abstract:  Environmental, economic, and safety challenges have provoked packaging scientists and producers to partially substitute petrochemical-based polymers with biodegradable ones. The general purpose of this review is to introduce poly-lactic acid (PLA), a compostable, biodegradable thermoplastic made from renewable sources. PLA properties and modifications via different methods, like using modifiers, blending, copolymerizing, and physical treatments, are mentioned; these are rarely discussed together in other reviews. Industrial processing methods for producing different PLA films, wrappings, laminates, containers (bottles and cups), are presented. The capabilities of PLA for being a strong active packaging material in different areas requiring antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics are discussed. Consequently, applications of nanomaterials in combination with PLA structures for creating new PLA nanocomposites with greater abilities are also covered. These approaches may modify PLA weaknesses for some food packaging applications. Nanotechnology approaches are being broadened in food science, especially in packaging material science with high performances and low concentrations and prices, so this category of nano-research is estimated to be revolutionary in food packaging science in the near future. The linkage of a 100% bio-originated material and nanomaterials opens new windows for becoming independent, primarily, of petrochemical-based polymers and, secondarily, for answering environmental and health concerns will undoubtedly be growing with time.

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