Journal of Polymers and the Environment ( IF 2.572 ) Pub Date : 2020-02-15 , DOI: 10.1007/s10924-020-01678-y Camila Rodrigues, Josiane Maria Muneron de Mello, Francieli Dalcanton, Domingos Lusitâneo Pier Macuvele, Natan Padoin, Márcio Antônio Fiori, Cíntia Soares, Humberto Gracher Riella
Sodium montmorillonite organically modified by octadecylammonium (Np-Clay) and zinc oxide nanoparticles (Np-ZnO) were incorporated into chitosan (C) matrix in different proportions to evaluate its mechanical properties and antimicrobial activities. The composites were obtained by polymer intercalation method in solution using acetic acid (1% v/v) as solvent. The functional groups, thermic behavior and surface morphology of the chitosan film and of the composites prepared with different percentages of Np-Clay and Np-ZnO were characterized through Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results showed that a combined effect of clay and zinc oxide increases significantly the mechanical properties of pure chitosan. FTIR results confirmed good compatibility among functional groups of chitosan, montmorillonite/metallic oxides. The Np-ZnO distribution became more uniform in chitosan films when the Np-clay was incorporated, thus, the Np-Clay compatibilizes the Np-ZnO with the chitosan and the mechanical properties improved and without affecting the antimicrobial activity of the films. The thermal degradation temperature of the chitosan did not change significantly with the addition of Np-Clay, but changes significantly with Np-ZnO addition. In antimicrobial test was found that the chitosan and Np-ZnO showed a synergistic effect against to Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. The addition of Np-ZnO and C-Clay in chitosan resulted in enhancement of mechanical and antimicrobial properties, turning this material prospective for food packaging applications.