Pectin based finishing to mitigate the impact of microplastics released by polyamide fabrics

Carbohydr Polym. 2018 Oct 15;198:175-180. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2018.06.062. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Abstract

Washing processes of synthetic clothes have been identified as the main source of microplastic pollution in marine ecosystems. Textile microfibres have been found in marine sediments and organisms, posing a real threat for the environment. The development of mitigation approaches is strongly needed to prevent the impact of microplastics. In this work, an innovative finishing treatment of polyamide fabrics is proposed to mitigate the microplastic impact, by preventing the damage of fabrics during washings. The treatment is based on the use of pectin, a natural polysaccharide present in the cell walls of plants. To functionalize the fabric, pectin was firstly modified with glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) and then grafted on polyamide. Washing tests of treated fabrics showed the effectiveness of the treatment in reducing of about 90% the amount of microfibres released by untreated fabrics. Post-wash analysis of the treated fabrics revealed a promising resistance to the washing process.

Keywords: Functionalization; Microplastics; Mitigation; Pectin; Polyamide.