Development of smart leathers: incorporating scent through infusion of encapsulated lemongrass oil†
Fragrant nanospheres were formed by an emulsion polymerization technique using chitosan and acrylic acid as a wall material. Several parameters such as the ratios of lemongrass oil : surfactant and chitosan : acrylic acid, and relative lemongrass oil content in the nanospheres were analysed. Subsequently, the physico-chemical characteristics of nanospheres were characterized using FT-IR, dynamic light scattering, and SEM. The results showed that nanospheres were formed using ratios of lemongrass oil : Triton X-100 at 1 : 1, and of chitosan : acrylic acid at 1 : 2. The nanospheres showed high oil loading (∼300%) and encapsulation efficiency (∼33%) and had an average size of 117 ± 11 nm. In addition to that, the antimicrobial activity of the nanospheres was tested against bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus) and fungi (Rhizoctonia solani, Macrophomina phaseolina, Aspergillus fumigatus). Further, the application of nanospheres loaded with lemongrass oil in leather processing was optimized (stage of addition and percentage offer). Physico-chemical characteristics such as physical strength, morphology, washability, perception evaluation, water diffusion and organoleptic properties were investigated. The results revealed that the nanospheres were embedded in the leather matrix and that their fragrance persisted after washing with water and solvent. These nanospheres act as good delivery vehicles for the manufacture of fragranced leather and will add economic value to the leather.