Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Technology

Major Professor

Svetlana Zivanovic

Committee Members

Federico M. Harte, Kevin M. Kit


Chitosan films are an excellent media for binding metal ions due to the electrostatic nature of the chitosan molecules. Addition of cross-linking or plasticizing agents alters texture of the films, but their effect on metal-binding capacity has not been fully characterized. The objective of this research was to determine effects of plasticizers and cross-linkers on physical and metal-binding properties of chitosan films and coatings prepared by casting and by spincoating. Chitosan films were prepared using 1% w/w chitosan in 1% acetic acid with or without (control) additives. Plasticizing agents were tetraethylene glycol (TEG) and glycerol while citric acid, ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), and tetraethylene glycol diacrylate (TEGDA) were used as cross-linkers. The additives were applied in concentrations of 0.10%, 0.25%, and 0.50% w/w of film-forming solution. The films were prepared by casting and by spincoating. Films were cast at ambient conditions for tests within one week (fresh films) and eight weeks (aged) after casting. The cast films were evaluated for thickness, residual moisture (by the Karl Fischer method), Cr(VI) binding capacity, puncture strength, and puncture deformation while the chitosan coatings were tested for thickness, Cr(VI) binding capacity, solubility in aqueous solution, and surface morphology (using atomic force microscopy). Cast films with cross-linkers showed an increase in resistance to puncture while plasticized films become more elastomeric. Control films bound 97.2% Cr(VI) ions from solution (0.56 mg Cr(VI)/g film), and addition of plasticizers did not affect chromium binding, tying up to 96.7% Cr(VI) ions from solution (0.56 mg Cr(VI)/g film). Films containing cross-linkers yielded binding capabilities ranging from 42.3% to 94.3% bound Cr(VI) ions (0.26-0.52 mg Cr(VI)/g film). Ultrathin coatings also possess the ability to bind Cr(VI) from solution, though only a maximum of 7.4% of Cr(VI) ions could be bound from solution, the thin films had the ability to bind up to 224 mg Cr(VI)/g ultrathin film. These coatings use less chitosan, but they display greater binding per mass. Overall, plasticizers do not alter, while cross-linkers may reduce, the binding capacity of chitosan films, but physical properties of the films can be controlled by inclusion of additives.

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