In this study, composites based on poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/talc were prepared at different compositions by melt mixing in a twin screw extruder. The effect of a nucleating agent, talc, on the crystallization behavior, rheological and morphological properties of PLA was investigated. DSC results showed that the addition of the mineral filler in the range between 1 and 5 wt. % to the PLA matrix increases the degree of crystallinity. This finding shows that talc acted as a nucleating agent for PLA during the processing stage. The composites morphology was also studied using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The micrographs showed that a good dispersion of talc was achieved in all compositions analyzed. The rheology of PLA/talc composites was evaluated with the dynamic mode and correlated with the aforementioned observed morphology. The results showed that the addition of the mineral filler to the PLA matrix decreased system viscosity, thus highlighting the filler's lubricant effect. As talc content increased, system's viscosity also increased, providing material with higher elastic behavior. Thermal analysis showed that the composition of 3 wt.% of talc added to polymer matrix seems to be interesting with regard to the need of articles possessing good dimension stability.
The microbial synthesis of nanoparticles is a green chemistry approach that combines nanotechnology and microbial biotechnology. The aim of this study was to obtain silver nanoparticles (SNPs) using aqueous extract from the filamentous fungus Fusarium oxysporum as an alternative to chemical procedures and to evaluate its antifungal activity. SNPs production increased in a concentration-dependent way up to 1 mM silver nitrate until 30 days of reaction. Monodispersed and spherical SNPs were predominantly produced. After 60 days, it was possible to observe degenerated SNPs with in additional needle morphology. The SNPs showed a high antifungal activity against Candida and Cryptococcus , with minimum inhibitory concentration values ≤ 1.68 µg/mL for both genera. Morphological alterations of Cryptococcus neoformans treated with SNPs were observed such as disruption of the cell wall and cytoplasmic membrane and lost of the cytoplasm content. This work revealed that SNPs can be easily produced by F. oxysporum aqueous extracts and may be a feasible, low-cost, environmentally friendly method for generating stable and uniformly sized SNPs. Finally, we have demonstrated that these SNPs are active against pathogenic fungi, such as Candida and Cryptococcus .