PhD defence

Chitin nanocrystal reinforced bioplastics with added functionality toward sustainable, biodegradable use

PhD candidate M (Murat) Yanat MSc
Promotor CGPH (Karin) Schroen
Organisation Wageningen University, Food Process Engineering

Tue 13 February 2024 13:30 to 15:00

Venue Omnia, building number 105
Hoge Steeg 2
6708 PH Wageningen
+31 (0) 317 - 484500
Room Auditorium


Pollution by fossil-based plastics is a rapidly growing concern in need of urgent solutions. Bioplastics have been proposed as alternatives, however, their properties limit application. In this thesis, we improved the properties of the bioplastic polylactic acid (PLA) by adding chitin nanocrystals derived from seafood waste. This addition enhanced mechanical and barrier properties without risk to food safety and without affecting the biodegradability of PLA. Additionally, chitin nanocrystals can induce functionality, such as antioxidant activity, to the material. We delved into the envisioned life cycle of this bio-nanocomposite material and highlighted potential improvements from a sustainability point of view. In brief, we anticipate a future in which bio-nanocomposite materials play a pivotal role in creating environmentally friendly food packaging solutions that increase shelf-life.