This work aimed to produce bionanocomposites of chitosan incorporated with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) synthesized using food industry by-products and to characterize them. Such nanoparticles are highlighted due to their low cost, antimicrobial activity, accessibility, and sustainability synthesis. Four different levels of ZnO NPs (0, 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0% w/w of chitosan) were tested, and the bionanocomposites were characterized in terms of their hydrophobicity, mechanical, optical, and barrier properties. Overall, the incorporation of ZnO NPs changed the composites from brittle to ductile, with enhanced elongation at break and reduced Young Modulus and tensile strength. Thus, ZnO NPs acted as plasticizer, turning the films more flexible, due to the presence of organic compounds on the NPs. This also favored permeability of oxygen and of water vapor, but the good barrier properties were maintained. Optical properties did not change statistically with the ZnO NPs incorporation. Thus, the characterization presented in this paper may contribute to support a decision on the choice of the material’s final application.
- Physical characterization
- Zinc oxide