, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 407–420 | Cite as

Isolation of cellulose nanocrystals from onion skin and their utilization for the preparation of agar-based bio-nanocomposites films

  • Jong-Whan RhimEmail author
  • Jeevan Prasad Reddy
  • Xiaogang Luo
Original Paper


Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) were isolated from onion skin using different concentrations of acid (45, 55, and 65 % H2SO4) and agar/CNC composite films were prepared to test their performance properties. The major component of onion skin was α-Cellulose (41.1 %). The yield, crystallinity index (CI), crystallite size, and thermal stability of the CNC varied depending on the acid concentration. The CNC isolated with 45 % of H2SO4 (CNC45) had the highest yield (48.6 %), CI (0.26), crystallite size (2.49 nm), and thermal stability among the tested CNCs. Performance test results of agar/CNCs composite films also indicated that the CNC45 reinforced composite film had the highest tensile strength (TS: 50 MPa) and Young’s modulus (YM: 1.98 GPa) with the lowest water vapor permeability (WVP: 1.78 × 10−9 g m/m2 s Pa). The properties of agar/CNC45 composite films were also greatly influenced by the content of nanofiller. The composite film exhibited the maximum strength and water vapor barrier properties with 3 wt% inclusion of CNC45. The present study revealed that the onion skin is an interesting new source of cellulose material for the preparation of bio-nanocomposite materials.


Onion skin Microcrystalline fiber Cellulose nanofiber Agar Bio-nanocomposite 



This research was supported by iPET (Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries), Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Republic of Korea.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jong-Whan Rhim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jeevan Prasad Reddy
    • 1
  • Xiaogang Luo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Food Engineering and Bionanocomposite Research InstituteMokpo National UniversityMuangunRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.School of Chemical Engineering and PharmacyWuhan Institute of TechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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