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Recycling of oil-based and biological polyesters for food contact: degradation, migration and determination of (non) intentionally added substances


The search for high-performance and low-cost materials makes polymers increasingly present in the manufacturing industry and in the daily lives of consumers. Its applicability extends to several market segments, among which the automotive, textile and especially food packaging industries stand out. Linked to the exponential growth of consumption is the generation of waste, and although plastic has gradually conquered its space as a material of great importance to society, its disposal is still a problem for the world, and especially for Brazil. To reduce the environmental impact that these materials cause, international environmental protection policies are planning several initiatives, among which the (i) gradual elimination of single-use plastics, (ii) the exclusive use of polymers recycled for the manufacture of packaging and disposables and (iii) the increase in materials of renewable origin in fast-disposal applications. Therefore, this project seeks to carry out a study on the recyclability of PLA and PET with a view to its application for contact with food. It is intended to establish a correlation between reprocessing and the formation of unintentionally added substances (NIAS), as well as their influence on the physicochemical properties of PLA and PET. The adequacy of the molar mass and its distribution, aiming at its original characteristics, will be obtained through the use of polycarbodiimide. Furthermore, we intend to identify and quantify the formation of NIAS and substances intentionally added (IAS) in recycled polymers (PLA and PET) using sensitive and high resolution analytical techniques such as SPME-CG-MS, GC-O- MS and UPLC-MS/QTOF. The potential risk of migration to different food simulants and under different conditions will also be assessed. Finally, we aim to collaborate for the advancement and employability of the use of recyclable polymers obtained from petroleum and biological base for contact with food, in addition to contributing to one of the most relevant topics associated with food safety, elucidating the main NIAS formed in these systems. (AU)

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