Analysis of Migrating Chemicals and Residues from Plastic, Bioplastic and Recycled Food Contact Materials (FCM) in Food Matrices

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Science and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 January 2024) | Viewed by 3142

Special Issue Editor

Department of Food Science, Centre of Innovative Food Research (iFood), Aarhus University, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark
Interests: analytical chemistry; food contact materials (intentionally added substances (IAS) and non-intentionally added substances (NIAS)); sustainability and recycling of plastics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plastic materials, also known as food contact materials (FCM), are widely used in food packaging applications. However, there is increased concern over the possible content of these packaging materials, and the subsequent release of undesirable components into foodstuffs or food simulants due to migration. During the production of these plastics, several compounds can be released, either intentionally added substances (IAS) like monomers and production chemicals (i.e antioxidants) or the so-called non-intentionally added substances (NIAS). These are generated as a result of reaction and degradation processes or due to the presence of impurities in the raw materials used for packaging production. This category of substances might include up to several thousands of compounds, where the vast majority are unknown.

Therefore, any development of new materials, including the increased interest in producing bioplastics (or biopolymers), whether chemical or mechanical (or bioplastics), requires a proper risk and safety assessment.   This includes the safety of new types of materials as well as the safe recycling of plastics. This risk assessment mainly focuses on identifying and quantifying the migrating IAS and NIAS compounds, a task which might also include their structural elucidation in the case of unknown compounds. Hence, the development of appropriate analytical methods is of great importance.

Furthermore, at the moment there is a high interest worldwide to promote the 3R sustainable approach, representing the need to “recycle”, “reuse” and “reduce” plastic materials. Within this framework, the assessment of the materials’ quality is fundamental. Towards this direction, the main research focus is being given to the analysis of what is migrating to respective food simulants, and what is less extended in food per se.

As such, this Special Issue will focus on qualitative and quantitative analysis of these compounds, mainly in food matrices. This includes identification, structural elucidation, method development, and validation, with efforts made to highlight and address any potential scientific and analytical challenges.

Dr. Emmanouil Tsochatzis
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • food contact materials
  • food matrices
  • recycling of plastic FCM
  • bioplastics and biopolymers
  • fossil fuel plastic FCM
  • intentionally added substances (IAS)
  • non-intentionally added substances (NIAS)
  • analysis, identification, and quantification
  • migration testing
  • specific migration limits
  • analysis in foods
  • toxicity evaluation and assessment
  • exposure studies
  • risk assessment

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 1910 KiB  
Article
Quantification of Microplastics in Plastic-Bottled Chinese Baijiu Using Micro-FTIR in Imaging Mode
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(20), 11142; https://doi.org/10.3390/app132011142 - 10 Oct 2023
Viewed by 841
Abstract
Microplastics (MPs) are prevalent in our environment, being present in the air we breathe and in the food we consume. Due to the widespread use of plastic materials in everyday life, the amount of microplastics being released into the biosphere has become increasingly [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs) are prevalent in our environment, being present in the air we breathe and in the food we consume. Due to the widespread use of plastic materials in everyday life, the amount of microplastics being released into the biosphere has become increasingly apparent in recent years. This study provides the first documentation of the presence of microplastics in Chinese baijiu, a popular alcoholic beverage in China, bottled in plastic. It is essential to note the significance of this discovery and potential implications for human health. Analysis of samples collected from the Chinese market showed the presence of microplastics in all six Chinese baijiu brands tested. Concentrations ranged from 172 MPs/500 mL to 944 MPs/500 mL with an average concentration of 436 MPs/500 mL. Cellulose and PA accounted for 70.4% and 17.8% of all microplastics detected, respectively. These were the most commonly detected types. Other types of microplastics were also found, including PET, PP, PVC, and PE. PET accounted for 2.7%, PP for 2.2%, PVC for 1.2%, and PE for 0.1% of all microplastics. The possible sources of contamination include raw materials, ambient air, and equipment and vessels that shed microplastics. Therefore, this study emphasizes the requirement for further research to mitigate the potential hazards associated with human exposure to microplastics. Additionally, it presents significant findings on the presence of microplastics in Chinese baijiu sold in plastic bottles. Full article
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23 pages, 5991 KiB  
Article
Screening of Microplastics in Aquaculture Systems (Fish, Mussel, and Water Samples) by FTIR, Scanning Electron Microscopy–Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy and Micro-Raman Spectroscopies
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(17), 9705; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13179705 - 28 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1960
Abstract
In the last decade, plastic waste has become one of the main threats to marine ecosystems and their biodiversity due to its abundance and increased persistence. Microplastics can be classified as either primary, i.e., fabricated for commercial use, or secondary, i.e., resulting from [...] Read more.
In the last decade, plastic waste has become one of the main threats to marine ecosystems and their biodiversity due to its abundance and increased persistence. Microplastics can be classified as either primary, i.e., fabricated for commercial use, or secondary, i.e., resulting from the fragmentation/weathering processes of larger plastic pieces in the environment. In general, microplastics are detected in a number of aquatic organisms (e.g., fish, bivalves, mollusks, etc.) with alarming effects on their health. Therefore, the present work focuses on the detection and identification of microplastics in fish species (Dicentrarchus labrax, Sparus aurata) and mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from aquaculture systems since these aquatic organisms are largely commercially available for consumption. In addition, seawater was also screened for the types of polymers present as well as their aging. The experimental protocol for biota samples contains a digestion step using Fenton’s reagent (0.05 M FeSO4⋅7H2O with 30% H2O2 at a volume ratio of 1:1) to remove organic material followed by filtration and a density separation step where the sample material was mixed with a saturated ZnCl2 solution to separate microplastic particles from heavier material. For seawater samples (sampled by a microplastic net sampler), only sieving on stainless steel sieves followed by filtration on silica filters was applied. Detection of microplastics and identification of their polymeric composition was achieved through the combined use of micro-Raman analysis, Attenuated Total Reflectance–Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy, and Scanning Electron Microscopy in tandem with Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Microplastic abundance was 16 ± 1.7 items/individual in mussels and 22 ± 2.1 items/individual in sea bass, and 40 ± 3.9 items/individual in sea bream, with polyethylene (74.4%) being the most detected polymer type, while polyethylene-co-vinyl acetate (65%), polyvinyl-butyral (36.8%), polyvinyl alcohol (20%), and polybutyl methacrylate (15.8%) were also detected to a lesser extent. The microplastics isolated from seawater samples were films (30%), fragments (30%), and fibers (20%), while some of them were derived from foams (20%). Also, in most of these seawater-recovered microplastics, a relatively high degree of oxidation (carbonyl index > 0.31) was observed, which was further confirmed by the results of Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Finally, the Scanning Electron Microscopy images showed various morphological characteristics (cracks, cavities, and burrs) on the surfaces of the microplastics, which were attributed to environmental exposure. Full article
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