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A Streamlined synthesis and processing of bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) poly(lactic acid) (PLA) composites

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Title: A Streamlined synthesis and processing of bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) poly(lactic acid) (PLA) composites
Author: Gitari, Baraka
Department: Department of Plant Agriculture
Program: Plant Agriculture
Advisor: Mohanty, Amar
Abstract: This thesis aims to explore ways of improving the social, economic and environmental sustainability of biobased fibers. Specifically, the first paper aimed to lower the cost of bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) production by recycling bacteria via subcultures and determining the maximum number of viable subcultures that could be inoculated. It was found that the bacteria Komagateibacter xylinus was viable (gcellulose / Lgrowth media) for a maximum of four subcultures with a 1:25 000 v/v transfer ratio. Recycling cultures of cellulose-producing bacteria makes BNC more cost competitive as a polymer. The streamlined steps to process bacterial nanocellulose (BNC) as reinforcement for poly(lactic acid) (PLA) was proposed. This straightforward process uses less steps as compared to the traditional process. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) revealed that sodium carbonate may be acting as a compatibilizer in the BNC/PLA films aiding the dispersion of BNC in the PLA matrix. The mechanical properties and water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) of the BNC/PLA were improved as compared to neat PLA film and CNF/PLA composites. More work needs to be done throughout society to make the bioeconomy a reality.
Date: 2018-12
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