Lignin and holocellulose from pecan nutshell as reinforcing fillers in poly (lactic acid) biocomposites

Sarai Agustin-Salazar, Pierfrancesco Cerruti*, Luis Ángel Medina-Juárez, Gennaro Scarinzi, Mario Malinconico, Herlinda Soto-Valdez, Nohemi Gamez-Meza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Lignocellulose from agro-food biowaste represents a valuable source of cost-effective structural fillers for wholly renewable polymer composites. In this work, pecan (Carya illinoinensis) nutshell (NS) fiber and its structural components, holocellulose (HC) and acid insoluble lignin (AIL), were isolated, characterized and used as reinforcing fillers to manufacture poly(lactic acid) (PLA) based biocomposites. Thermal, morphological and mechanical properties of the prepared materials were analyzed. NS and HC acted as heterogeneous nucleating agents, potentially able to control PLA physical aging. Moreover, they significantly enhanced the viscoelastic response of PLA, mainly restricting the melt molecular mobility due to hydrodynamic effects and the formation of a three-dimensional particulate network. Flexural tests demonstrated that HC induced a 25% increase in modulus compared to the plain polymer. AIL, conversely, conferred higher ductility to the PLA matrix producing an increase in stress and strain at break of 55% and 65%, respectively. Finally, all the biocomposites showed lower resilience with respect to plain PLA due to the lack of chemical adhesion between filler and matrix. These results emphasize the potential of NS as a source of reinforcing filler in polymer-based biocomposites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-736
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Biocomposites
  • Holocellulose
  • Lignin
  • Pecan nutshell
  • Poly (lactic acid)


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