Work Package 1: Modified lignin nanoparticle synthesis

Three sources of technical lignin (kraft, organosolv and soda) will be considered for this study. PACK-NIN aims at novel derivatization methods such as oxypropylation and benzylation esterification to be compared with reported acetic anhydride esterification. Modified lignin (ML) samples will be further proceeded for modified lignin nanoparticles (MLNP) preparation using different methods such as solvent polarity shifting and precipitation method. The confirmation of different modification reactions will be performed via UV-Vis, FT-IR, 13C NMR and 31PNMR analysis. The molecular weight distribution will be performed by size exclusion chromatography. The synthesised MLNP will be characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM).  

Work Package 2: Development of PLA/ML and PLA/MLNP nanocomposite synthesis 

PLA/ML and PLA/MLNP composites will be produced through two processing methods, casting and micro-extrusion. In the extrusion method, a twin-screw extruder will be used, and the processing temperature and time will be optimized with respect to uniformity of the dispersion of MLNPs in PLA. ML and MLNP will be incorporated into the PLA polymer matrix at various weight percentages, and their stability, compatibility and binding ability will be tested.

Work Package 3: Development of PLA/ML-Cu and PLA/MLNP-Cu nanocomposite synthesis

Different approaches will be employed for synthesis of PLA/ML-Cu and PLA/MLNP-Cu. The produced Cu-nanocomposite will be tested using SEM and TEM for morphological studies; X-ray diffraction will be used for crystallinity study and UV-visible will be used to obtain optical properties.    
Biological study:The antibacterial activity of Cu-nanocomposite will be assayed against foodborne Escherichia coli (gram-negative)and Staphylococcus aureus (gram-positive) bacteria.   

Work Packages 4 and 5: Dissemination, communication and personal/career development

Dissemination of PACK-NIN’s results through presenting at national and international conferences as well as publishing results in peer-reviewed journals. Specific training will also be undertaken on biological study (BS), life cycle assessment (LCA) and molecular modelling (MM) from InnoRenew CoE’s experts (BS-Ms. Marica Mikuljan, LCA-Dr. Erwin M. Schau and MM-Dr. Veerapandian Ponnuchamy).