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Valorization of cork stoppers, coffee-grounds and walnut shells in the development and characterization of Pectin-Based composite films: Physical, barrier, antioxidant, genotoxic, and biodegradation properties

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The development of sustainable materials from the valorization of waste is a good alternative to reducing the negative environmental impact of plastic packaging. The objectives of this study were to develop and characterize pectin-based composite films incorporated with cork or cork with either coffee grounds or walnut shells, as well as to test the films’ genotoxicity, antioxidant properties, and biodegradation capacity in soil and seawater. The addition of cork, coffee grounds, or walnut shells modified the films’ characteristics. The results showed that those films were thicker (0.487 ± 0.014 mm to 0.572 ± 0.014 mm), more opaque (around 100%), darker (L* = 25.30 ± 0.78 to 33.93 ± 0.84), and had a higher total phenolic content (3.17 ± 0.01 mg GA/g to 4.24 ± 0.02 mg GA/g). On the other hand, the films incorporated only with cork showed higher values of elongation at break (32.24 ± 1.88% to 36.30 ± 3.25%) but lower tensile strength (0.91 ± 0.19 MPa to 1.09 ± 0.08 MPa). All the films presented more heterogeneous and rougher microstructures than the pectin film. This study also revealed that the developed films do not contain DNA-reactive substances and that they are biodegradable in soil and seawater. These positive properties could subsequently make the developed films an interesting eco-friendly food packaging solution that contributes to the valorization of organic waste and by-products, thus promoting the circular economy and reducing the environmental impact of plastic materials.



Biodegradable Food packaging Pectin film Physico-mechanical Waste valorization Sustainability


Polymers 16 (8): 1053 (2024)

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