Self-Assembled Networks of Short and Long Chitin Nanoparticles for Oil/Water Interfacial Superstabilization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • Nanjing Forestry University
  • University of Helsinki


Highly charged (zeta potential ζ = +105 mV, acetate counterions) chitin nanoparticles (NCh) of three different average aspect ratios (∼5, 25, and >60) were obtained by low-energy deconstruction of partially deacetylated chitin. The nanoparticles were effective in reducing the interfacial tension and stabilized the oil/water interface via network formation (interfacial dilatational rheology data) becoming effective in stabilizing Pickering systems, depending on NCh size, composition, and formulation variables. The improved interfacial wettability and electrosteric repulsion facilitated control over the nanoparticle's surface coverage on the oil droplets, their aspect ratio and stability against coalescence during long-term storage. Emulsion superstabilization (oil fractions below 0.5) occurred by the microstructuring and thickening effect of NCh that formed networks at concentrations as low as 0.0005 wt %. The ultrasound energy used during emulsion preparation simultaneously reduced the longer nanoparticles, producing very stable, fine oil droplets (diameter ∼1 μm). Our findings indicate that NCh surpasses any reported biobased nanoparticle, including nanocelluloses, for its ability to stabilize interfaces at ultralow concentrations and represent a step-forward in efforts to fully replace surfactants in multiphase systems.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6497-6511
Number of pages15
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Deconstruction, Nanochitin, Pickering emulsion, Rodlike particles, Superstabilization

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