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Properties of whey protein isolate nanocomposite films reinforced with nanocellulose isolated from oat husk

Whey protein isolate (WPI)-based composite films with varying proportions of oat husk nanocellulose (ONC) obtained from acid sulfuric hydrolysis were prepared using a solution casting method. The obtained material after each step of the isolating cellulose, morphological and crystallinity of the ONC were studied by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD), respectively. The effect of ONC content (0, 2.5, 5 and 7.5wt% of WPI) on physical, mechanical and barrier properties of the nanocomposite were then evaluated. FTIR spectroscopy indicated the progressive removal of non-cellulosic components from the oat husk. SEM images showed the mean width of ONC was about 76nm and XRD analysis revealed the crystallinity increased after acid hydrolysis. The films prepared with up to 5wt% ONC showed the highest tensile strength, Young's modulus, solubility and the lowest elongation at break and moisture content. At high level (7.5wt%), tensile strength, Young's modulus and solubility of the films decreased and elongation at break and moisture content increased due to agglomeration of the fillers. Nevertheless, film transparency and water vapor permeability decreased with ONC incorporation.

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