Evaluation of Mussel Shells Powder as Reinforcement for PLA-Based Biocomposites

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jul 28;21(15):5364. doi: 10.3390/ijms21155364.


The use of biopolyesters, as polymeric matrices, and natural fillers derived from wastes or by-products of food production to achieve biocomposites is nowadays a reality. The present paper aims to valorize mussel shells, 95% made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), converting them into high-value added products. The objective of this work was to verify if CaCO3, obtained from Mediterranean Sea mussel shells, can be used as filler for a compostable matrix made of Polylactic acid (PLA) and Poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT). Thermal, mechanical, morphological and physical properties of these biocomposites were evaluated, and the micromechanical mechanism controlling stiffness and strength was investigated by analytical predictive models. The performances of these biocomposites were comparable with those of biocomposites produced with standard calcium carbonate. Thus, the present study has proved that the utilization of a waste, such as mussel shell, can become a resource for biocomposites production, and can be an effective option for further industrial scale-up.

Keywords: biocomposites; calcium carbonate; mechanical properties; natural filler; thermal properties.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Shells / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Bivalvia / chemistry*
  • Polyesters / chemistry*
  • Powders


  • Polyesters
  • Powders
  • poly(butylene adipate-co-butylene terephthalate)
  • poly(lactide)