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From Industrial Waste to Environmentally Friendly Food Packaging Materials: The Rise of HPMC Powder on the Road to Innovation


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In Brazil, researchers at the State University of Paulo (UNESP), located on the island of Soleira, have developed a thin film that can replace plastic in food packaging. This film is made from hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and residual bacterial cellulose waste from industrial processing. Both of these raw materials are sustainable. They combine to produce biodegradable films of bacterial cellulose nanocrystals and HPMC.

One of the limitations of films made from HPMC and other biopolymers is that they have lower mechanical strength than traditional petroleum films. They also have high permeability to water vapor, which limits their available applications. We improve these properties by adding bacterial cellulose; Pamela Melo, a graduate student in Materials Science at UNESP, said that she was the first author of the project article, which was conducted during her doctoral research under the supervision of Aouada.


"How nanocrystals interact with the HPMC matrix and their distribution within it will determine the quality of the thin film, so we conducted tests and obtained the optimal distribution through high-energy dispersion using a Turrax disperser," Melo said. Deposit the film-forming dispersion onto the substrate. The solvent evaporates after 24-48 hours. The result is that compared to films that only use HPMC, the product is more robust and has lower permeability. The amount of water absorbed by this material currently limits its use in packaging.

HPMC powder 2

(HPMC powder)

HPMC is a non-ionic cellulose ether obtained through chemical processes using natural polymer cellulose as raw material. HPMC powder is an odorless, odorless, non-toxic white powder that can dissolve in cold water and form a transparent viscous solution. This material has thickening, adhesion, dispersion, emulsification, film-forming, suspension, adsorption, gelation, surface activity, water retention, and protective colloid.

The characteristics of HPMC powder include:

1. Good water solubility: HPMC can dissolve in cold water, forming a transparent viscous solution.

2. Multifunctionality: HPMC has various properties, such as thickening, adhesion, dispersion, emulsification, film-forming, suspension, adsorption, gelation, surface activity, etc.

3. Stability: HPMC has good light, heat, and moisture stability and is not easily deteriorated.

4. Compatibility: HPMC is compatible with other materials such as pigments, shading agents, lubricants, etc.

5. Safe and non-toxic: HPMC is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

HPMC powder 1

(HPMC powder)

The application fields of HPMC powder are wide, mainly including:

1. Building materials: HPMC powder has a wide range of applications in building materials, mainly due to its good water solubility, thickening, adhesion, suspension and other properties.

2. Food industry: As a thickener, binder, emulsifier, suspension agent, stabilizer, water retaining agent, and excipient, it is added to various beverages, dairy products, seasonings, and nutritional foods.

3. Cosmetics: used as adhesives, emulsifiers, film-forming agents, etc.

4. Pharmaceutical industry: used for pharmaceutical preparations such as tablets, granules, etc.

HPMC powder

(HPMC powder)


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