Utilization of Lignin in Biopolymeric Packaging Films
Zadeh, Elham Mohammad
O’Keefe, Sean F.
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Lignin is a byproduct of agricultural industries and only has limited applications. In this study, lignin was investigated for use in sustainable biopolymeric packaging film. Alkali lignin (AL) and lignosulfonate (LSS) were added to enzymatically modified soy protein isolate (SPI) biopolymeric film with different concentrations with the goal of improvement of film physical and functional properties. A radical scavenging activity test revealed that films containing LSS had values 28 and 6% higher than control and AL-based films, respectively; AL itself (not in films) had significantly higher radical scavenging activity than LSS. This indicates the activity of lignin is affected by interaction with SPI. The higher compatibility between LSS and enzymatically modified SPI resulted in a positive effect on surface smoothness, water absorption, and mechanical properties of LSS-based films. Films containing AL showed a high light absorption range in the UV region, and this UV-blocking ability increased with increasing level of lignin. Deconvoluted Fourier transform infrared spectra confirmed that the addition of lignin resulted in some changes in the secondary structure of the protein matrix, which were aligned with X-ray diffraction results. The addition of lignin improved tensile strength (TS) and thermal stability of films compared to the lignin-free control. This improvement in TS and thermal stability was probably a result of new intermolecular interactions between lignin and SPI. Water vapor permeability of the films containing lignin decreased to 50% of the control because lignin played a role as a filler in the matrix. On the basis of our observations, the incorporation of lignin into biopolymeric film is capable of providing additional benefits and solutions to various industries, such as food, packaging, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals.