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Exploring Chitosan-Based Films: A Sustainable Alternative to Synthetic Plastic Packaging

Portrait of Maxwell McCray, speaker
Maxwell McCray
Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry
University of Georgia
Science Learning Center, Room 345
Materials Chemistry and Nanoscience Seminar

In the quest for sustainable solutions to mitigate the environmental impact of synthetic plastic packaging, Chitosan-based films have emerged as a promising alternative. This review highlights the multifaceted attributes of Chitosan, a biopolymer derived from chitin, emphasizing its antimicrobial properties, modifiability, and biodegradability, which collectively contribute to its efficacy in packaging applications. Chitosan's inherent antimicrobial properties make it an attractive choice for food packaging, extending the shelf-life of perishable goods and reducing food waste. Moreover, its ability to be chemically modified allows for tailored properties such as enhanced mechanical strength, water resistance, and gas barrier properties, enhancing its versatility and applicability across various packaging needs. The biodegradability of Chitosan-based films addresses the critical issue of plastic pollution, offering a sustainable end-of-life solution. Unlike conventional plastics that persist in the environment for centuries, Chitosan-based films degrade into harmless byproducts, minimizing ecological harm and promoting circularity in packaging materials. This presentation highlights Chitosan based materials for its potential role as a viable alternative to synthetic plastic packaging, through its antimicrobial properties, ability to be modified and biodegradability to foster a more sustainable future for the worldwide packaging industry. 

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