Development of a Polycaprolactone Blend for Antimicrobial Packaging
This study seeks to develop a polycaprolactone (PCL) blended film with enhanced antimicrobial properties for food packaging applications. Chitosan and grapefruit seed extract (GSE) are blended into a base PCL film for their antimicrobial characteristics. As a base polymer, PCL not only offers superior rheological properties for ease of fabrication, but it is also biocompatible. Similarly, chitosan is a natural polymer that is not only biocompatible, but also has antimicrobial attributes that is complementary to those of GSE. The physical morphology, thermal stability and antimicrobial efficacy of the composite film were characterised to determine the effects of molecular weight of chitosan on the antimicrobial performance of the blend. Wettability and chemical characterisation of the blends were also determined to provide deeper insights into their antimicrobial behaviour. The blended films were thermally stable within the melt blending temperature of lower than 100oC. All blended films exhibited superior antimicrobial and antifungal efficacy. Notably, the films incorporated with low molecular weight of chitosan exhibited the highest antimicrobial efficacy and the highest wettability. The characterisation from this study confirms PCL/chitosan/GSE blended films has the requisite antimicrobial attributes as promising candidate for antimicrobial packaging.
Keywords - Polycaprolactone, Chitosan, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Antimicrobial Packaging.