Improvement of water barrier property of paperboard by coating application with biodegradable polymers

Jaejoon Han, Stéphane Salmieri, Canh Le Tien, Monique Lacroix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Biopolymeric coatings were prepared and applied onto paperboard to improve its water barrier property. To prepare whey protein isolate (WPI)/cellulose- based films, WPI and glycerol were dissolved in water with glutaraldehyde (cross-linking agent) and cellulose xanthate. The solution was cast, dried, and insolubilized by entrapment of WPI in regenerated cellulose. Films were combined with beeswax (BW) into a bilayer coating system and then applied onto paperboard by heating compression. Another coating solution consisting of polyvinyl butyral) (PVB)/zein was prepared by dissolving polyvinyl alcohol) (PVA) and zein in 70% ethanol with glutaraldehyde and butyraldehyde (functionalization agent). The PVB/zein solution was applied onto paperboard after BW was sprayed. The structure of the PVB/zein-based coatings was analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The water vapor barrier property of coated paperboards was evaluated by water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) measurements. From the FTIR spectra, PVA functionalization after cross-linking and efficient acetalization into PVB were confirmed. WPI/cellulose and PVB/ zein coating treatments improved the water barrier properties of paperboard by decreasing the WVTR by 77-78%. Although the BW coating was more efficient (decrease of WVTR by 89%), bilayer coatings composed of BW and polymer coatings had a stronger barrier effect with a decrease of WVTR to 92-95%, hence approaching commercial attributes required to ensure water vapor barrier in paperboard-based food containers (10 g/m2-day). These results suggest that surface coating by biodegradable polymers may be utilized for the manufacture of paperboard containers in industrial applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3125-3131
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar 10
Externally publishedYes


  • Beeswax
  • Cellulose xanthate
  • FTIR
  • Paperboard
  • Poly(vinyl butyral)
  • WVTR
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Zein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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