- Editorialpp 2188-2191Yoo, H. Y., and Kim, S. W. (2021). "The next-generation biomass for biorefining," BioResources 16(2), 2188-2191. AbstractArticlePDF
Biorefining, which uses biomass as feedstock and converts it into valuable products, is a core technology for the sustainable green industry and has high potential as an alternative to the current petrochemical-based industry. This article covers the requirements for feedstock that should be met for the economic feasibility of a biorefinery. In particular, organic waste that meets several requirements as the next-generation biomass has high potential. However, the complex and significant differences in composition depending on the origin make it difficult to follow the previous system of classification such as cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. In particular, several organic wastes contain high value-added bioactive components. Therefore, a strategy for the effective use of high value-added ingredients contained in trace amounts is required, which is briefly introduced in the third section of this article.
- Editorialpp 2192-2195Shuai, J., and Wang, X. (2021). "Novel solvent systems for cellulose dissolution," BioResources 16(2), 2192-2195. AbstractArticlePDF
Cellulose, as the most abundant sustainable resource on earth, can be chemically transformed into a variety of biodegradable materials, which have been proposed as the ideal substitutes for plastic products. The first challenge for the fabrication of cellulose-based functional materials is the successful dissolution of cellulose by solvents. However, most existing cellulose solvents have environmental, economic, and other drawbacks that limit their further industrial applications. Research on developing novel solvent systems with “greener” and “cheaper” properties is needed to meet the challenges.
- Editorialpp 2196-2199Sombatsompop, N., Srimalanon, P., Markpin, T., and Prapagdee, B. (2021). "Polylactic acid (PLA): Improve it, use it, and dump it faster," BioResources 16(2), 2196-2199. AbstractArticlePDF
Today, many people enjoy an easy lifestyle. However, this comfort has come with a price because of plastic that is thrown away after a single use. As such, governments around the world have pushed for biodegradable plastics to be produced, especially for food packaging, and these can be easily seen in supermarkets, for example. Using plastic for only one time has resulted in environmental pollution. To solve this problem, polylactic acid (PLA) has been introduced as an alternative bio-based plastic to replace artificial petroleum-based plastics. PLA comes from renewable resources and is biodegradable under certain conditions. Furthermore, the development of the properties of PLA could solve problems related to its weakness in packaging applications. This editorial proposes expansion of the property attributes of PLA to include hygienic character, through the addition of antibacterial agents. This can be done by introducing two alternative approaches for waste management: PLA recycling and degradation. However, some key research is still needed to improve the properties and waste management of PLA relative to the effectiveness of its reprocessing and acceleration of its (bio)degradation.
- Editorialpp 2200-2203Jablonsky, M., Homola, J., Masaryk, M., Slavikova, M., Homolova, M., Brazinova, A., and Katuscak, S. (2021). "Cellulose fibers (dominant protecting means/tool) against COVID-19. Facemasks pros, cons, and challenges," BioResources 16(2), 2200-2203. AbstractArticlePDF
Cellulose materials and related bioresources have been the first-line tools of defense of human health against COVID-19. The alfa cellulose, wood cellulose, and multilayer composite face masks have been used by billions, simultaneously with millions of tons of cellulosic bioresources-based medical specialty, hygiene, and packaging products used to deal with the global disaster. This editorial considers recently available facts and disputes some statements that have appeared in the media during the year 2020 concerning properties and the risks of the masks. According to recent findings, the carbon dioxide concentration increases by 2.3 to 4.3 times inside of the mask, compared to ambient air, and therefore we suppose that there will be also a concentration increase of larger chemical compounds, toxins, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particles. These quantities should be measured, and the data used in further research aimed at quality improvement.
- Editorialpp 4663-4666Ehman, N., and Area, M. C. (2021). "Bioplastics are revolutionizing the packaging industry," BioResources 16(3), 4663-4666.AbstractArticlePDF
The production of bioplastics is a growing trend. The utilization of renewable sources, in some cases currently wasted, to replace petroleum derivatives, is providing opportunities to achieve more environmentally friendly product life cycles. The possibility of producing biodegradable products under normal environmental conditions is another goal of recent studies. This editorial summarizes current aspects in the production of bioplastics. We highlight new studies that make it possible to obtain biodegradable composites using a natural, renewable, high availability, and low-cost material, such as cellulose.
- Editorialpp 4667-4670Jablonsky, M., Kreps, F., Haz, A., Sima, J., and Jablonsky, J. (2021). "Green solvents, plant metabolites, and COVID-19: Challenges and perspectives," BioResources 16(3), 4667-4670.AbstractArticlePDF
Acquisition and isolation of value-added substances from natural sources using new types of green solvents are becoming a breakthrough area of 21st century research. In combination with various extraction techniques, there is expected to be a diversification of the use of these solvents for extraction, separation, and the formation of new drug carriers, allowing increased solubility of substances having potential pharmacological properties. Extraction, separation, or increase in the solubility of suitable drug candidates against COVID-19, or other viral diseases, opens new ways to effectively prevent and protect human health in this pandemic period.
- Editorialpp 4671-4674Chen, Y., Zhang, C., Qi, H., and Hubbe, M. A. (2021). "Some challenges in the naming and measuring of nanocellulose," BioResources 16(3), 4671-4674.AbstractArticlePDF
Due to its renewable nature, its inherent strength, and many other favorable attributes, nanocellulose (NC) has drawn increasing attention for many potential applications. A diverse and complex assortment of NC products have been reported, and these are most commonly classified based on some contrasting procedures of preparation. The research community is facing a continuing challenge to adequately measure and quantify morphological features of various NC products. In principle, it ought to be possible to quantify and name NC based on such attributes as “degree of branching,” “breadth of particle size,” and “aspect ratio distribution,” etc. However, the ability to measure and compute such quantities still lies beyond what can be achieved in practical amounts of time in typical laboratories. Meanwhile, there has been tension between researchers proposing additional descriptive names, while at the same time there have been efforts at achieving uniformity and simplicity in nomenclature. It is proposed in this essay that this state of affairs is largely a reflection of complexity itself, such that NC products that have the same nominal description can be very different from each other when examined closely. The diversity itself may turn out to be a good thing, as researchers work to come up with varieties of NC that can survive an expected relentless competition from existing plastic-based or cellulose-based materials.
- Editorialpp 6548-6550Ruffino, R. (2021). "Sustainable design: Aspects of sustainable product development," BioResources 16(4), 6548-6550.AbstractArticlePDF
When NC State University recently hired me to lead a course concentration in sustainable design, I began to hone in on what sustainable product development and design translate to and its actionable applications. Sustainable product development and design of current and future consumer products and services are methods that create a proactive versus a reactive approach. The development of sustainable products and systems must start at the beginning phase of ideation and continue through the entire process to achieve multiple design purposes and duration with a designated end-of-life plan. In contrast, generally, products are developed with end of life and longevity as a secondary thought, and with recycling as a potential option. If the goal is the longevity of a product or service, one needs to look beyond recycling and more at the concept of development. A sustainable product development approach and design thinking are how to accomplish product longevity.
- Editorialpp 6551-6552Hart, P. W. (2021). "Trust the literature, but verify – Case study of starch acetate as a barrier material under jungle conditions," BioResources, 16(4), 6551-6552.AbstractArticlePDF
A case study is presented in which several articles and patents suggested a specific outcome. When the actual experimental work was performed, the results were found to be several orders of magnitude away from predicted values. Close re-inspection of the literature suggested that most of the authors actually extrapolated the results to conditions that were not applicable to their specific studies, resulting in the reporting errors. It is important to use literature to assist in research, but it is equally important not to blindly follow it either.
- Editorialpp 6553-6555Pinto, R., Corazza, M. L., and Ramos, L. P. (2021). "Bringing the concept of drop-in fuels into the pulp and paper industry," BioResources 16(4), 6553-6555.AbstractArticlePDF
The pulp and paper sector is undertaking several initiatives to decrease the carbon footprint of its industrial activities. To do so, any emission must be offset by introducing efficient carbon fixation strategies such as reforestation and the development of biobased products and processes. The production of drop-in fuels may play an important role in this scenario. Drop-in fuels provide a good way to add value to otherwise underutilized process streams and wastes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing other environmental impacts, and improving process sustainability.