In the present paper, we reported how cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) from microcrystalline cellulose have the capacity to assist in the synthesis of metallic nanoparticles chains. A cationic surfactant, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), was used as modifier for CNC surface. Silver nanoparticles were synthesized on CNC, and nanoparticle density and size were optimized by varying concentrations of nitrate and reducing agents, and the reduction time. The experimental conditions were optimized for the synthesis and the resulting Ag grafted CNC (Ag-g-CNC) were characterized by means of TGA, SEM, FTIR and XRD, and then introduced in PIA matrix. PIA nanocomposite containing silver grafted cellulose nanocrystals (PLA/0.5Agg-1CNC) was characterized by optical and thermal analyses and the obtained data were compared with results from PLA nanocomposites containing 1% wt. of CNC (PLA/1 CNC), 0.5% wt. of silver nanoparticles (PLA/0.5Ag) and hybrid system containing CNC and silver in the same amount (PLA/1 CNC/0.5Ag). The results demonstrated that grafting of silver nanoparticles on CNC positively affected the thermal degradation process and cold crystallization processes of PLA matrix. Finally, the antibacterial activity of the different systems was studied at various incubation times and temperatures, showing the best performance for PLA/1CNC/0.5Ag based nanocomposite. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.