Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 20, pp 13314–13321 | Cite as

One-step enzymatic grafting of ferulic acid with cellulose to enhance matrices–fibres compatibility in bio-composites

  • Sophie MorinEmail author
  • Lauris Bockstal
  • Nicolas Jacquet
  • Aurore Richel
Materials for life sciences


Bio-composites elaboration is limited by poor interfaces between cellulose and polymer matrices and the cellulose degradation. Achieving cellulose grafting with ferulic acid should enhance those resulting bio-composites mechanical properties. Therefore, a cellulose suspension was modified with ferulic acid using laccase under reaction conditions set at 60 °C, acetate buffer pH 5 for 24 h. Grafted cellulose fibrils were extruded in polypropylene-grafted maleic acid (PPgMA) for mechanical properties studies. Even if ferulic acid interacted with cellulose without any enzyme presence, the acid resilience was only detected for cellulose fibres modified with ferulic acid proving the surface grafting. Cellulose fibrillary lengths were unaffected by the enzymatic treatment suggesting a tiny coating. The resulting bio-composites had a Young modulus reduction of 12%. The elongation at maximal stress had 23% improvement, corresponding to a material mechanical resistance. This result was also confirmed by bio-composite elaboration with natural fibres under the same conditions. Ferulic acid and cellulose blends have improved the hardness properties of the resulting bio-composites with PP-PPgMA.



The authors would like to acknowledge Alexandre Schandeler for his technical help and his wise recommendations about this project. This project was supported by the INTERREG France-Wallonie-Vlanderen Call V which granted this work as part of the COMPOSENS project. The authors also would like to thank Prof. Dr. Ir. Blecker Laboratory (University of Liège, Belgium) who has kindly given access to the TGA and DSC apparatus. The authors are grateful to the laboratory of Prof. Damblon (University of Liège-Belgium) for NMR profile and Prof. Vertruyen (University of Liège, Belgium) for the XRD diffractograms. We also express our gratitude to the CERTECH (Seneffe, Belgium) which kindly performed the bio-composites extrusion and the tensile test.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10853_2019_3832_MOESM1_ESM.docx (719 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 719 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Biomass and Green TechnologiesUniversity of Liège - Gembloux Agro-bio TechGemblouxBelgium
  2. 2.Food Science and FormulationUniversity of Liège – Gembloux Agro-bio TechGemblouxBelgium

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