Journal of Nanosciences: Current Research

ISSN: 2572-0813

Open Access

New Opportunities in Sustainable Materials


Sabu Thomas

Green chemistry started for the search of benign methods for the development of nanoparticles from nature and their use in the field of antibacterial, antioxidant, and antitumor applications. Bio wastes are eco-friendly starting materials to produce typical nanoparticles with well-defined chemical composition, size, and morphology. Cellulose, starch, chitin and chitosan are the most abundant biopolymers around the world.   All are under the polysaccharides family in which cellulose is one of the important structural components of the primary cell wall of green plants. Cellulose nanoparticles(fibers, crystals and whiskers) can be extracted from agrowaste resources such as  jute, coir, bamboo, pineapple leafs, coir etc. Chitin is the second most abundant biopolymer after cellulose, it is a characteristic component of the cell walls of fungi, the exoskeletons of arthropods and nanoparticles of chitin (fibers, whiskers) can be extracted from shrimp and crab shells. Chitosan is the derivative of chitin, prepared by the removal of acetyl group from chitin (Deacetylation).  Starch nano particles can be extracted from tapioca and potato wastes. These nanoparticles can be converted into smart and functional biomaterials by functionalisation through chemical modifications (esterification, etherification, TEMPO oxidation, carboxylation and hydroxylation etc) due to presence of large amount of hydroxyl group on the surface. The preparation of these nanoparticles include both series of chemical as well as mechanical treatments; crushing, grinding, alkali, bleaching and acid treatments. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) are used to investigate the morphology of nanoscale biopolymers. Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR) and x ray diffraction (XRD) are being used to study the functional group changes, crystallographic texture of nanoscale biopolymers respectively. Since large quantities of bio wastes are produced annually, further utilization of cellulose, starch and chitins as functionalized materials is very much desired. The cellulose, starch and chitin nano particles are currently obtained as aqueous suspensions which are used as reinforcing additives for high performance environment-friendly biodegradable polymer materials.


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