Sustainable Packaging Materials Lab

Welcome to the website for the Sustainable Packaging Materials Lab of the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The focus of this lab is the study of sustainable packaging materials and their applications; including manufacturing processes, food packaging systems, smart packaging, and biosensor systems using chemiluminescent technology.

Research Highlights

Sustainable Packaging Systems

Lignin-Based Biopolmeric Active Packaging System for Oil Products

Antioxidant activity of enzymatically modified soybean proein film with two different forms of lignin (alkali lignin and lignosulfonate) was investiaged using two stimulated food systems involving direct and indrect contact with soybean oil and fish fatty acid ethyl ester (FAEE). We found the biopolyeric film we explored in this study showed a significant potential as active packaging materials for highly senstive to oxidation by radical and UV light. (Published, J. Food. Sci. Jun 2019)

Utilization of Lignin in Biopolymeric Packaging Films

Lignin is a byproduct of agricultural industries and only has limited applications. In this study, lignin was investigated for use in sustainable biopolymeric packaging film. Alkali lignin (AL) and lignosulfonate (LSS) were added to enzymatically modified soy protein isolate (SPI) biopolymeric film with different concentrations with the goal of improvement of film physical and functional properties

Utilization of Lignin in Biopolymeric Packaging Films



Physical properties of nanocomposite polylactic acid films prepared with oleic acid modified titanium dioxide

When incorporated into polymers, TiO2 nanoparticles improve toughness, barrier properties, impart opaqueness, and have antibacterial and UV light protecting effects. However, due to low compatibility between hydrophilic TiO2 nanoparticles and hydrophobic polymers, the added TiO2 nanoparticles tend to agglomerate and form large clusters, reducing their effectiveness. Modification of TiO2 surfaces with oleic acid to make them nonpolar is expected to improve compatibility between polylactic acid (PLA) and TiO2. The objective of this study was to compare properties of nanocomopsite PLA films with oleic acid-modified TiO2 (OT-PLA) and unmodified TiO2 (T-PLA) with PLA films without TiO2.



Evaluation of Enzymatically Modified Soy Protein Isolate Film Forming Solution and Film at Different Manufacturing Conditions

The effects of transglutaminase on soy protein isolate (SPI) film forming solution and films were investigated by rheological behavior and physicochemical properties based on different manufacturing conditions (enzyme treatments, enzyme incubation times, and protein denaturation temperatures).



Investigation of Nanofibrillated Cellulose for Hydrophobic Packaging Material: Examining Alternatives to Solvent Exchange and Lyophilization

A bio-based polyurethane and a thermosetting acrylic were tested in conjunction with nano-fribirllated cellulose and conventional kraft fiber to evaluate their use as a bio-derived, biodegradable packaging foam.

Close-up of sawn acrylic composite, with exterior layers visbile top and bottom



Improved thermal stability of polylactic acid (PLA) composite film via PLA–-cyclodextrin-inclusion complex systems

The effects of the incorporation of PLA–-cyclodextrin-inclusion complex (IC) and -cyclodextrin (- CD) on biopolyester PLA films were investigated. Thermal stability, surface morphology, barrier, and mechanical properties of the films were measured at varying IC (1, 3, 5, and 7%) and -CD (1 and 5%) concentrations.

Biosensor and Medical Packaging

Self-Enzyme Chemiluminescence 
Immunoassay Capable of Rapidly Diagnosing the Infection of Influenza A (H1N1) Virus

A highly sensitive self-enzyme immunoassay with 1,1′-oxalyldiimidazole chemiluminescence (ODI-CL) detection was developed for the first time to quantify influenza A (H1N1) virus. A specific capture antibody, capable of capturing hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes of H1N1, was immobilized on the surface of the magnetic Au-Fe3O4 nanocomposite. Neuraminidase (NA) subtype of H1N1 was acts as an enzyme in the self-enzyme immunoassay.



Rapid and Simple G-Quadruplex DNA Aptasensor with Guanine Chemiluminescence 

A cost-effective and sensitive aptasensor with guanine chemiluminescence detection capable of simply quantifying thrombin in human serum was developed using thrombin aptamer (TBA), one of the G-quadruplex DNA aptamers, without expensive nanoparticles and complicated procedures.



Microfluidic device capable of sensing ultrafast chemiluminescence

Based on the principle of liquid core waveguide, a novel microfluidic device with micro-scale detection window capable of sensing flashlight emitted from rapid 1,1′-oxalyldi-4-methylimidazole (OD4MI) chemiluminescence (CL) reaction was fabricated.