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Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, Vol. 84, No. 12, pp. 2579-2607

Published online 2012-10-22

Bionanocomposites: Green sustainable materials for the near future

Yury Shchipunov

Institute of Chemistry, Far East Department, Russian Academy of Sciences, 690022 Vladivostok, Russia; The WCU Center for Synthetic Polymer Bioconjugate Hybrid Materials, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Pusan National University, San 30, Jangjun Dong, Geumjung Gu, Busan, 609-735 Korea

Abstract: Bionanocomposites are a novel class of nanosized materials. They contain the constituent of biological origin and particles with at least one dimension in the range of 1–100 nm. There are similarities with nanocomposites but also fundamental differences in the methods of preparation, properties, functionalities, biodegradability, biocompatibility, and applications. The article includes two parts. Bionanocomposite definition and classification along with nanoparticles, biomaterials, and methods of their preparation are initially reviewed. Then, novel approaches developed by our team are presented. The first approach concerns the preparation of bionanocomposites from chitosan and nanoparticles. It is based on the regulated charging of polysaccharide by the gradual shift of solution pH. When charges appear, the biomacromolecules come into the electrostatic interactions with negatively charged nanoparticles that cause the jellification of solutions. It is also applied to form films. They have a nacre-like structure from stacked planar nanoparticles separated by aligned biomacromolecules. The second approach deals with the biomimicking mineralization of biopolymers by using a novel silica precursor. Its advantage over the current sol-gel processing is in the compatibility and regulation of processes and structure of generated silica. Another example of the mineralization is presented by titania. Syntheses are performed in anhydrous ethylene glycol. Processes and structure of bionanocomposites are regulated by water that is added in an amount to only hydrate functional groups in the carbohydrate macromolecule.