NanoCELL – Comprehensive characterization and human toxicological assessment of nanocellulose along its life cycle for reliable risk assessment and safe use in environmentally friendly packaging materials
The NanoCELL project addressed the synthesis, physico-chemical characterization, application, and human-toxicological assessment of nanocellulose across its life cycle. Particular focus was on crystalline nanocellulose (CNC) and its application in environmentally friendly packaging materials as important building block of a modern circular economy.
The most important developments and findings within NanoCELL are:
- Development of a process for the lab-scale synthesis of hydrophilic CNC from different raw materials (a.o., cotton, birch, spruce) including successful CNC spray-drying; upscaling of the CNC synthesis process requires adaptations of the reactor design though.
- Successful surface functionalization of CNC (fluorescence labelling, silanization).
- Successful coating of different foil substrates (Polylactic acid, polypropylene, paper) with high composite adhesion and improved barrier effect against oxygen but need further studies necessary regarding coating reproducibility and barrier effect against mineral oils.
- Comprehensive physico-chemical characterization of CNC (size/number distribution, Zeta potential, agglomeration) in complex matrices (a.o., cell culture medium, digestive juices) by multi-detector field-flow fractionation (FFF) and electron microscopy.
- Successful development of different in vitro (GIT-model, 3D lung models) and ex vivo (porcine mucus, intestinal tissue) to study potentially toxic effects of CNC after oral and pulmonal exposure.
- CNC-transport studies in in vitro and ex vivo models under static and dynamic conditions show CNC-transport across the mucus layer, but not across the intestinal tissue; no toxic effects could be observed under these conditions.
- Successful preliminary work for an in silico transport model for CNC across biological barriers.
Grant Number: BMBF - 03XP0196
Duration: 01.03.2019 - 28.02.2022 (extended to 30.06.2022)