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Nanocellulose–Zeolite Composite Films for Odor Elimination

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journal contribution
posted on 22.12.2015, 22:43 by Neda Keshavarzi, Farshid Mashayekhy Rad, Amber Mace, Farhan Ansari, Farid Akhtar, Ulrika Nilsson, Lars Berglund, Lennart Bergström
Free standing and strong odor-removing composite films of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) with a high content of nanoporous zeolite adsorbents have been colloidally processed. Thermogravimetric desorption analysis (TGA) and infrared spectroscopy combined with computational simulations showed that commercially available silicalite-1 and ZSM-5 have a high affinity and uptake of volatile odors like ethanethiol and propanethiol, also in the presence of water. The simulations showed that propanethiol has a higher affinity, up to 16%, to the two zeolites compared with ethanethiol. Highly flexible and strong free-standing zeolite–CNF films with an adsorbent loading of 89 w/w% have been produced by Ca-induced gelation and vacuum filtration. The CNF-network controls the strength of the composite films and 100 μm thick zeolite–CNF films with a CNF content of less than 10 vol % displayed a tensile strength approaching 10 MPa. Headspace solid phase microextraction (SPME) coupled to gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) analysis showed that the CNF–zeolite films can eliminate the volatile thiol-based odors to concentrations below the detection ability of the human olfactory system. Odor removing zeolite–cellulose nanofibril films could enable improved transport and storage of fruits and vegetables rich in odors, for example, onion and the tasty but foul-smelling South-East Asian Durian fruit.