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Synthesis and characterization of cellulose nanocrystals derived from walnut shell agricultural residues

Hemmati, Farshad, Jafari, Seid Mahdi, Kashaninejad, Mahdi, Barani Motlagh, Mojtaba
International journal of biological macromolecules 2018 v.120 pp. 1216-1224
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, acid hydrolysis, agricultural wastes, agroindustrial byproducts, alkaline hydrolysis, cellulose, color, crystal structure, drugs, nanocarriers, nanocrystals, solvents, swelling (materials), thermal stability, thermogravimetry, walnut hulls, walnuts
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) have novel and diversified applications in different fields including packaging and nanodelivery systems. This study was dedicated to fabricate CNCs from walnut shell as an abundant source of agricultural byproducts using alkali/acidic hydrolysis method. Moreover, homogenizer and ultrasound devices were applied to produce the CNCs with minimum hazardous solvents in the preparation steps. The physicochemical characteristics of CNCs, such as color, size, yield, and swelling capacity plus their characterization using X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were studied. The mean equivalent spherical diameter of the fabricated CNCs was about 130 nm and the production efficiency was 91.5%. Besides, the swelling capacity of CNCs was 1.5-fold of cellulose with a swelling of 400%. The crystallinity degree of the cellulose obtained from walnut shell was 49%, which was improved following acidic and alkali hydrolysis (60%). TGA analysis revealed that the thermal stability of the CNCs was lower than cellulose; moreover, the FTIR results demonstrated that there is not a considerable difference between normal cellulose and CNCs. Overall, it was concluded that walnut shell-derived CNCs have the potential to be employed as promising nanocarriers in different sectors, especially in the food and drug delivery sectors.