Nowadays, hemp farmers are facing an urgent problem related to plant stem disposal after seed harvesting. In this work, the commonly discarded epidermis and cuticle of hemp stems were valorized, turning them towards a sustainable recycling and reuse, contributing to the circular economy concept. Cellulose deprived of amorphous regions was obtained by a green process consisting of an ethanolic ultrasound-assisted maceration followed by mild bleaching/hydrolysis. The obtained hemp cellulose was esterified with citric acid resulting in a 1.2-fold higher crystallinity index and 34 degrees C lower T-g value compared to the non-functionalized hemp cellulose. Green innovative biocomposite films were developed by embedding the modified cellulose into PLA by means of an extrusion process. The structural and morphological characterization of the obtained biocomposites highlighted the functionalization and further embedment of cellulose into the PLA matrix. Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) results suggested physical and chemical interactions between PLA and the organic filler in the biofilms, observing a homogeneous composition by Field Emission-Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM). Moreover, some increase in thermal stability was found for biocomposites added with 5%wt of the hemp cellulose filler. The obtained results highlighted the feasible recovery of cellulose from hemp stem parts of disposal concern, adding value to this agro-waste, and its potential application for the development of novel biocomposite films to be used in different applications.

Hemp Stem Epidermis and Cuticle: From Waste to Starter in Bio-Based Material Development

Pecoraro, Maria Tommasina;Piccolella, Simona
;
Pacifico, Severina
2022

Abstract

Nowadays, hemp farmers are facing an urgent problem related to plant stem disposal after seed harvesting. In this work, the commonly discarded epidermis and cuticle of hemp stems were valorized, turning them towards a sustainable recycling and reuse, contributing to the circular economy concept. Cellulose deprived of amorphous regions was obtained by a green process consisting of an ethanolic ultrasound-assisted maceration followed by mild bleaching/hydrolysis. The obtained hemp cellulose was esterified with citric acid resulting in a 1.2-fold higher crystallinity index and 34 degrees C lower T-g value compared to the non-functionalized hemp cellulose. Green innovative biocomposite films were developed by embedding the modified cellulose into PLA by means of an extrusion process. The structural and morphological characterization of the obtained biocomposites highlighted the functionalization and further embedment of cellulose into the PLA matrix. Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) results suggested physical and chemical interactions between PLA and the organic filler in the biofilms, observing a homogeneous composition by Field Emission-Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM). Moreover, some increase in thermal stability was found for biocomposites added with 5%wt of the hemp cellulose filler. The obtained results highlighted the feasible recovery of cellulose from hemp stem parts of disposal concern, adding value to this agro-waste, and its potential application for the development of novel biocomposite films to be used in different applications.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11591/482551
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