Technological watch

Antibacterial and compostable polymers derived from biobased itaconic acid as environmentally friendly additives for biopolymers

In this work, a series of antibacterial cationic copolymers derived from bio-sourced itaconic acid was studied as potential biobased active components in biodegradable formulations based on poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) for packaging applications. These copolymers were first characterized by testing their antimicrobial activity against resistant bacterial strains, their biodegradability in compost conditions, and their thermal properties by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The antibacterial properties showed potent activity against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), with MIC values as low as 78 ?g mL?1. Related to their biodegradability, the cationic polymers biodegraded fast under compost conditions and even a priming effect was observed in the compost. Thermal properties, characterized by DSC and TGA, showed that the copolymers thermally degraded at temperature relatively low; nevertheless, they are able to be processed at temperatures up to ?150 °C. Subsequently, these antibacterial polymers were successfully blended as minor active component (10 wt%) with PBAT by melt-extrusion and press-compression molding. The resulting biopolymeric films exhibit potent antibacterial activity, which confirm that the cationic polymers incorporated as active component are able to perverse this activity after the processing and impart antibacterial properties to PBAT bioplastic. Therefore, these antibacterial biobased polymers derived from itaconic acid seem to be good candidates for applications related to active food packaging or even for biomedical devices.

Publication date: 01/05/2022

Author: A. Chiloeches, R. Cuervo-Rodríguez, F. López-Fabal, M. Fernández-García, C. Echeverría, A. Muñoz-Bonilla

Polymer Testing


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.