Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Packaging Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

William S. Whiteside

Committee Member

William C. Brigdes

Committee Member

Duncan O. Darby


Flexible packaging is an integral part of the food supply chain due to its unique thermal, mechanical, and barrier properties. The many advantages (e.g., lightweight, product protection, reduction in food waste, communication medium, etc.) come with certain drawbacks (low recyclability rate, pollution of ecosystems, etc.). Still, the heavy reliance of the food industry on these products, many of them being non-sustainable polyolefins, is unlikely to diminish in the foreseeable future. Thus, more sustainable alternatives that do not sacrifice performance (machinability, shelf-life, etc.) are needed before pollution becomes irreversible and public outcry insurmountable. Nanocellulose, especially in the form of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), can be incorporated into sustainable polymer matrices to enhance mechanical, thermal, and barrier properties. Cellulose is the most abundant polymer (polysaccharide) found in nature. More research to find novel biomasses for CNC extraction would be welcome to the industry. One potential biomass source for the extraction of nanocellulose is the invasive deciduous perennial: kudzu (peuraria montana var. lobata). This legume is predominantly an agricultural nuisance. However, an industrial benefit may exist that would increase raw material supply for the degradable packaging market. However, no formal research exists for this application of kudzu. The purpose of this research is to: (1) identify a CNC extraction methodology for kudzu, and (2) physiochemically characterize the product to evaluate its efficacy as a possible nanofiller in degradable packaging solutions.



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