Bionanotechnology to Save the Environment

Author: Pierfrancesco Morganti
Published in: MDPI Publishing
Release Year: 2019
ISBN: 978-3-03842-693-6
Pages: 438
Edition: 1st
File Size: 30 MB
File Type: pdf
Language: English

Description of Bionanotechnology to Save the Environment

The main aim of the current policy is to keep the environment in orbit with economics at the center, not considering nature or environment as simple commodities. Preserving planet Earth’s biodiversity is crucial in order to keep its ecosystems in equilibrium. For this purpose, it is necessary to produce goods and tools using bio and ecocompatible methodologies whilst also increasing knowledge on the concept of industrial sustainability. In fact, sustainability has to be based on the 3P pillars: Planet, People and Profit, i.e., (a) the preservation of the planet’s environment; (b) the respect of people’s safety and well-being, to meet the social expectations; (c) the maintenance of the industrial profit to manufacture and compete at a global level. Without entering into any kind of neoliberal education policy, Bionanotechnology to Save the Environment book aims to present new ideas to encourage those in the manufacturing industry to use both industrial and agricultural biomass in order to produce goods in a greener way. It may also encourage scientists and marketing professionals to educate the consumer on the necessity of maintaining biodiversity without impoverishing our planet of crucial raw materials.

Bionanotechnology to Save the Environment book is organized in the following five parts:


where, in Chapter 1, the necessity to recycle waste using bionanotechnology is reported, underlining that our health, together with economical and social progress, is closely linked to the quality of the environment. For this purpose, the strategic necessities to use plant biomass and waste from fisheries as raw materials are reported and discussed in six chapters (Chapters 2 to 7)
Chapter 2 deals with the current Chemical Industry Strategy of Innovation, based on the necessity to maintain the ecosystem and biodiversity of our earth by increasing the use of by-products, as basic raw material for producing goods. Sustainability, in fact, must be the key factor dictating the progress of the European Chemical Industry in the next decade. Chapter 3 describes the quality and quantity of available biomass as a basic source of raw material; therefore, much effort has to be devoted to converting it into useful industrial and commercially viable products. Biomass represents, in fact, an immense and renewable source for the production of bio-fuels and valuable ingredients, despite only a small amount being utilized to make goods. For this reason, Chapter 6 reports the most fundamental chemicals and fuels that can be produced by a bio-refinery, simply by processing feedstock rich in cellulose and lignin. Therefore, the use of biomass in nanobiotechnological processes is useful to achieve a sizeable bio-green economy as a base for our future progress, indispensable to reduce the social differences as well. In Chapters 4 and 5, availability, production and use of Chitin, Cellulose, and Lignin are discussed. These polymers, which represent the most abundant natural and underutilized materials present in the world, are precious raw materials that are useful to the manufacture of many kinds of products. Chitin Nanofibrils (CN), obtained from crustacean waste, and lignin, from plant biomass, have been shown to be interesting natural polymers useful for producing, for example, non-woven tissues to make innovative beauty masks and/or advanced medications. It is worth noting that the use of nanocomposites made from the CN–Lignin block copolymeric micro/nanoparticles has shown to be effective for producing non-woven tissues and emulsions with interesting antiageing and/or anti-inflammatory effectiveness. During the polymerization process—necessary to produce the micro/nanoparticles—it is possible, in fact, to entrap different active ingredients to characterize the activity of the final products. Chapter 7 explains and reviews the definition of bio-based, recyclable, biodegradable and compostable materials by the current standards and legislation. The general assessment of biodegradability of a plastic material, in fact, is not sufficient for fulfilling the requirements of the consolidated international standard for composting waste. Indeed, if not properly planned and addressed, the production of compostable materials might be less sustainable than that of petrol derived, non-biodegradable polymers.


comprises five chapters, reporting and discussing (from Chapters 8 to 12) the physicochemical characteristics of the principal biopolymers obtained by the plant biomass, such as cellulose and lignin, together with the more known chitin from fisheries’ waste. Thus, Chapter 8 introduces the general characteristics and peculiarities of lignin as a biopolymer, presenting its structural issues. For this purpose, the techniques necessary to investigate these interesting macromolecules are reported, highlighting the latest technologies created to isolate lignin from plant biomass, controlling and valorizing its interesting polyphenolic structure. Chapter 9 is focused on the biomedical applications of cellulose nanocrystals, highlighting their use in drug-delivery systems and in tissue engineering. Cellulose, in fact, as a natural polymer and biomaterial, plays an important role in regenerative medicine to control cellular activities and functions, when used to produce and reinforce non-woven tissues, because of its non-toxic and biodegradable properties. Chapter 10 reports the structural (morphological and crystalline) and dynamic (rheological) properties of chitosan (CS) and chitin nanofibrils (CNs), used to produce composite films by casting technology. The rheological tests provide useful information about the rheological changes of CS/CN slurries over time, which are necessary to determine the limit of their storage. Based on the analysis of the permeability for gases and water vapor, thermal and mechanical stability of these innovative films it can be concluded that they are suitable as disposable packages for dry products. Replacing cellulose paper with CS/CN-based films may have an effect on reducing deforestation and the associated climate change. Chapter 11 gives an excursus on the possible use of biodegradable raw materials to make safe baby diapers. It shows the historical use of these diapers for protecting the baby skin from the common rash problem, reporting the different shapes used during the years and the safety and security of the actual based baby diapers. Chapter 12 reports data and operating conditions of the electrospinning technique used to produce non-woven-tissues by a blend of chitin nanofibrils and other natural polymers.


contains five chapters (from Chapters 13 to 17), reporting the industrial applications that chitin and its derivatives could have in different and important economical fields, such as cosmetics, advanced medications, and food packaging. Chapter 13 describes the safeness and effectiveness of the block co-polymeric chitin nanofibril–hyaluronan (CN–HA) as a skin anti-wrinkling agent, underlining its efficacy to neutralize the free radical activity and to regularize the correct cell turnover. Moreover, it has also been shown that the controlled delivery and release of active ingredients throughout the skin layers is of fundamental importance to achieve the effectiveness of the topically applied products. Chapter 14 highlights the recent researches in tissue engineering, underlining the different aspects of chitin-based nanocomposites to produce skin-friendly scaffolds. Chapter 15 reports the employment of different polymers obtained from biomass in the production of soft container packaging to reduce waste production and related greenhouse emissions. Chapter 16 is focused on the possibility to use bio-based polymers for the industrial processing of hard containers for food and cosmetic purposes, reporting the more recent technologies adopted for maximum valorization of bio-based polymers. This application outlines the potentiality and the growing attention, not only from researchers but also from producers and consumers, towards bio-based materials. The modification and processing of bio-based products with additives, polymers, and natural fibers is also discussed.


consisting of four chapters (from Chapters 17 to 20), reports update studies, in vitro and in vivo, showing the safeness and effectiveness of chitin nanofibrils used for medical purposes, underlining the necessity to patent all the innovations achieved. In the last few years, many studies have focused their attention on the biomedical application of natural biocompatible polymers used to produce nanocomposites for tissue regeneration. Chapter 17 is therefore focused on the study of the biological properties of the new polymeric nanoconstructs which, being biodegradable and biocompatible, have the capacity to exploit the body’s natural biological response, at the same time respecting the environment equilibrium. This is the reason why chitin nanofibrils and lignocellulosic polymers, possessing these characteristics, are at the center of many therapeutic applications. Chapter 18 reports the latest in vivo studies on innovative non-woven tissues made by chitin nanofibrils entrapping nanostructured silver, in a very low dose. These particular tissues, typically applied for a period of 6 days on skin affected by first- and second-degree burns, resulted in quickly regenerating the skin tissues, temporarily slowing down the bacterial growth, without causing any toxic side effect. It is worth noting that the non-woven tissues, made prevalently by chitin nanofibrils, have shown in vitro, in keratinocyte cultures, an interesting effectiveness to modulate the cell production of defensines, balancing the imetalloproteinases activity also. The last two chapters are concerned with the EU regulations on c osmetic products and the use of nanomaterials, underlining the necessity to protect the industrial innovations by organized patent applications. Chapter 19 outlines the main features of the recent European recast of the Cosmetic Regulation, touching upon the use of nanomaterials and the necessity to respect the environment’s equilibrium. Chapter 20 highlights how the protection of nanotechnological inventions implies a new interpretation and application of the general requirements of patent ability.

Bionanotechnology to Save the Environment book represents a good asset for graduate students, researchers, academicians, and industrial experts working in the field of natural polymers who wish to maintain the biodiversity of our planet, improving our quality of life by the use of green Bionanotechnology.
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