• Cellulose nanocrystals were added in the corn starch/gelatin films.
  • Physical, mechanical and microstructural properties were investigated.
  • Higher concentrations of gelatin and CNC resulted in better mechanical properties.
  • The films were homogeneous indicating the interaction between filler and matrix.
  • Low content of gelatin and CNC increases the degradation temperature.


Cellulose at the nanoparticle scale has been studied as a reinforcement for biodegradable matrices to improve film properties. The goal has been to investigate the properties of starch/gelatin/cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) films. Eleven treatments were considered using RCCD (rotatable central composite design), in addition to four control treatments. For each assay, the following dependent variables were measured: water vapor permeability (WVP), thickness, opacity and mechanical properties. The microstructure and thermal properties of the films were also assessed. Increases in gelatin and CNC concentrations lead to increases in film thickness, strength and elongation at break. The films containing only gelatin in their matrix displayed better results than the starch films, and the addition of CNC had a positive effect on the assessed response variables. The films exhibited homogeneous and cohesive structures, indicating strong interactions between the filler and matrix. Films with low levels of gelatin and CNC presented the maximum degradation temperature.