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Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2020) | Viewed by 51676

Special Issue Editors

Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, 80126 Naples, Italy
Interests: industrial enzymology; food biotechnology; hydrocolloid films for food coatings or wrappings.
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Nutrition and Food Technology, An-Najah National University, P.O. Box 7 Nablus, Palestine
Interests: nutrition biochemistry; food technology; biopolymers and biodegradable materials.
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent advances in food chemistry, technology, and biotechnology have allowed the tuning of new methodologies useful to address  major safety and environmental concerns regarding food packaging materials. Due to the deficiency of oil resources and waste management issues, the recent research trends are switching from synthetic oil-based plastics to biomass-derived biodegradable and non-environmentally harmful polymers. The extremely long degradation period of conventional plastics results in persistent contamination and huge environmental impact. In addition, the presence of various contaminants in the plastics, as well as their possible migration inside the packed food, is a further reason to replace them with biodegradable and/or edible materials. Therefore, the development of new “bio-plastics”, produced from sustainable and renewable resources and suitable for keeping food safe and flavorful for longer periods of time, is a great challenge in both science and industry. As food contact materials, numerous biopolymers—including different carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, or their composite mixtures—are increasingly being proposed as alternatives to conventional petroleum-derived plastics. These biopolymers are applied in various combinations to provide unique properties that ensure the safety and quality of specific packed food products, from processing, handling, and storage to final use by consumers. However, although some of these biomaterials are largely available on the market, there are a number of drawbacks related to both performance and price that still hinder their widespread commercial use. The main restrictions range from their instability and poor mechanical properties to their high permeability to gases and water vapor.

We invite investigators to contribute original research articles as well as review articles that will stimulate the continuing efforts to produce biodegradable/edible materials able to coat and preserve specific food products. We are particularly interested in articles describing new modalities to obtain new biomaterials from renewable biomass sources; preparation of new coatings and wrappings endowed with properties tailored for specific foods; development of new processes and strategies to improve food packaging and shelf life; as well as new insights and challenges in food packaging research, application, and commercialization. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

      1. Developments in polysaccharide-, protein-, and lipid-based biomaterials;
      2. Recent advances in structure and characterization of new polysaccharide- and protein-based, as well as composite, biomaterials;
      3. Latest technologies for recycling industrial biopolymer by-products into food coatings;
      4. Development of specific biodegradable/edible coatings or wrappings
        1. for fresh fruits and vegetables,
        2. for ready-to-eat fresh fruits and vegetables,
        3. for fish, meat, and poultry,
        4. for dairy products,
        5. for baked and fried foods,
        6. containing active ingredients (flavors, colorants, antioxidants, antimicrobials, etc.) and/or nanoparticles;
      5. Current marketing aspects of biopolymers as food packaging materials.

Prof. Dr. Raffaele Porta
Prof. Dr. Prospero Di Pierro
Dr. Mohammed Sabbah
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • biopolymers
  • biodegradable materials
  • edible films
  • food packaging
  • food shelf life

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 172 KiB  
Editorial
Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(14), 4942; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21144942 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 5010
Abstract
Oil-derived plastics are the most commonly used materials for packaging because of their features, low cost, and availability of resources for manufacturing [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)

Research

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22 pages, 3840 KiB  
Article
Bioactive Characterization of Packaging Foils Coated by Chitosan and Polyphenol Colloidal Formulations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2610; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072610 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2788
Abstract
Polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) foils, previously activated by ultraviolet (UV)/ozone, were functionalized using chitosan-extract nanoparticle dispersions. A solution of macromolecular chitosan was applied onto foils as a first layer, followed by the deposition of various extracts encapsulated into chitosan nanoparticles, which were [...] Read more.
Polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) foils, previously activated by ultraviolet (UV)/ozone, were functionalized using chitosan-extract nanoparticle dispersions. A solution of macromolecular chitosan was applied onto foils as a first layer, followed by the deposition of various extracts encapsulated into chitosan nanoparticles, which were attached as an upper layer. Functionalized foils were analyzed from a bioactive point of view, i.e., regarding antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. Desorption kinetics were also studied. Moreover, barrier properties were examined, as the most important parameter influencing antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. Finally, all these properties were correlated with different surface parameters, determined previously, in order to understand if there is any direct correlation between surface elemental composition, surface charge, contact angle, or morphology and a specific bioactive property. It was shown that great bioactive properties were introduced due to the additive effect of antimicrobial chitosan and antioxidative plant extracts. Moreover, oxygen permeability decreased significantly, and the migration of polyphenols and chitosan from the foil surface was below the OML (overall migration limit), which is very important for food industry applications. Furthermore, surface properties of foils influence to some extent the desired bioactivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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12 pages, 2146 KiB  
Article
Development and Assessment of Duplex and Triplex Laminated Edible Films Using Whey Protein Isolate, Gelatin and Sodium Alginate
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072486 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3119
Abstract
The objective of this study was to assess the ability of producing laminated edible films manufactured using the following proteins; gelatin (G), whey protein isolate (WPI) and polysaccharide sodium alginate (SA), and to evaluate their physical properties. Additionally, films’ preparation employing these ingredients [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to assess the ability of producing laminated edible films manufactured using the following proteins; gelatin (G), whey protein isolate (WPI) and polysaccharide sodium alginate (SA), and to evaluate their physical properties. Additionally, films’ preparation employing these ingredients was optimized through the addition of corn oil (O). Overall, 8-types of laminated films (G-SA, G-WPI, SA-WPI, SA-G-WPI, GO-SAO, GO-WPIO, SAO-WPIO and SAO-GO-WPIO) were developed in this study. The properties of the prepared films were characterized through the measurement of tensile strength (TS), elongation at break point (EB), puncture resistance (PR), tear strength (TT), water vapour permeability (WVP) and oxygen permeability (OP). The microstructure of cross-sections of laminated films was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Mechanical properties of films were dramatically enhanced through the addition of film layers. GO-SAO laminate showed the best barrier properties to water vapour (22.6 ± 4.04 g mm/kPa d m2) and oxygen (18.2 ± 8.70 cm3 mm/kPa d m2). SAO-GO-WPIO laminate film was the strongest of all laminated films tested, having the highest TS of 55.77 MPa, PR of 41.36 N and TT of 27.32 N. SA-G-WPI film possessed the highest elasticity with an EB value of 17.4%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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19 pages, 4890 KiB  
Article
Effect of Sonication on the Properties of Flaxseed Gum Films Incorporated with Carvacrol
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051637 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2821
Abstract
Carvacrol is a natural compound known to be a highly effective antibacterial; however, it is a hydrophobic molecule, which is a limitation to its use within food packaging. Flaxseed gum (FG) films containing different contents of carvacrol (C) were produced by a film-casting [...] Read more.
Carvacrol is a natural compound known to be a highly effective antibacterial; however, it is a hydrophobic molecule, which is a limitation to its use within food packaging. Flaxseed gum (FG) films containing different contents of carvacrol (C) were produced by a film-casting method with sonication. The effects of sonication power and time on the properties of the FG-C films were investigated by measuring the film thickness, mechanical properties, contact angle, opacity, water vapor permeability (WVP), water sorption isotherm, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy(FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), antibacterial and antioxidant activities, and microstructure. The results showed that sonication power and time had significant effects on mechanical and barrier properties, film opacity, and degradability (p < 0.05). The tensile strength (TS) and elongation at break (EB) values exhibited an obvious improvement after sonication, and FG-0.5C-6030 had the lowest TS (33.40 MPa) and EB (4.46%) values. FG-C films formed a denser structure and the contact angle was improved as a result of sonication, which improved the integration of carvacrol into the FG matrix. In terms of microstructure, sonication resulted in a homogeneous and continuous crosssection of FG-C films, and regular surface and cross-sectional images were obtained through the highest acoustic intensity and longest time treatment. The FG films incorporated with carvacrol displayed antibacterial properties against Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Shewanella putrefaciens, and Pseudomonas fluorescens, as well as increased antioxidant properties, and sonication was proven to enhance both of them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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13 pages, 1205 KiB  
Article
Black Edible Films from Protein-Containing Defatted Cake of Nigella sativa Seeds
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21030832 - 28 Jan 2020
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 5218
Abstract
Black biodegradable/edible protein-based films were prepared from defatted cake waste obtained from Nigella sativa (black cumin) seeds as by-product of oil extraction process. The effects of pH, glycerol concentrations, and transglutaminase-catalyzed protein cross-linking activity on the stability of film-forming solutions were studied to [...] Read more.
Black biodegradable/edible protein-based films were prepared from defatted cake waste obtained from Nigella sativa (black cumin) seeds as by-product of oil extraction process. The effects of pH, glycerol concentrations, and transglutaminase-catalyzed protein cross-linking activity on the stability of film-forming solutions were studied to determine the best experimental conditions to produce handleable films. Proteins contained in the analyzed defatted cake were shown to be able to act as transglutaminase acyl donor and acceptor substrates being polymerized when incubated in vitro in the presence of the enzyme. Film-forming solutions containing 20% glycerol and casted at pH 8.0 after treatment with the enzyme gave rise to morphologically more homogeneous films possessing mechanical and barrier properties, as well as antimicrobial activity, compatible with their possible applications as food packaging materials and mulching sheets. These findings confirm the validity of the strategy to consider the seed oil processed cakes as protein-based renewable sources to produce not only fertilizers, animal feed, or culinary food but also further valuable products such as bioplastics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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22 pages, 3055 KiB  
Article
Physicochemical Characterization of Packaging Foils Coated by Chitosan and Polyphenols Colloidal Formulations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020495 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 5763
Abstract
In this research, antimicrobial polysaccharide chitosan was used as a surface coating for packaging material. The aim of our research was to establish an additive formulation of chitosan and antioxidative plant extracts as dispersion of nanoparticles. Chitosan nanoparticles with embedded thyme, rosemary and [...] Read more.
In this research, antimicrobial polysaccharide chitosan was used as a surface coating for packaging material. The aim of our research was to establish an additive formulation of chitosan and antioxidative plant extracts as dispersion of nanoparticles. Chitosan nanoparticles with embedded thyme, rosemary and cinnamon extracts were synthesized, and characterized for this purpose. Two representative, commercially used foils, polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE), previously activated by UV/ozone to improve coating adhesion, were functionalized using chitosan-extracts nanoparticle dispersions. The foils were coated by two layers. A solution of macromolecular chitosan was applied onto foils as a first layer, followed by the deposition of various extracts embedded into chitosan nanoparticles that were attached as an upper layer. Since active packaging must assure bioactive efficiency at the interface with food, it is extremely important to understand the surface characteristics and phenomena of functionalized foils. The physico-chemical analyses of functionalized foils were thus comprised of surface elemental composition, surface charge, wettability, as well as surface morphology. It has been shown that coatings were applied successfully with an elemental composition, surface charge and morphology that should enable coating stability, homogeneity and consequently provide an active concept of the packaging surface in contact with food. Moreover, the wettability of foils was improved in order to minimize the anti-fogging behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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18 pages, 4599 KiB  
Article
The Application of (+)-Catechin and Polydatin as Functional Additives for Biodegradable Polyesters
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020414 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2990
Abstract
Plant polyphenols are a huge group of compounds with a wide spectrum of applications. Substances from this group have been used in polymer materials such as stabilizers, dyes, indicators, fungicides, and bactericides, especially in new generation packaging materials. The aim of this study [...] Read more.
Plant polyphenols are a huge group of compounds with a wide spectrum of applications. Substances from this group have been used in polymer materials such as stabilizers, dyes, indicators, fungicides, and bactericides, especially in new generation packaging materials. The aim of this study is to obtain environmentally friendly materials based on the biodegradable aliphatic polyesters, polylactide (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), with plant functional additives, (+)-catechin and polydatin. These natural polyphenols (polydatin and (+)-catechin) have not been used so far in polymer materials (especially in biodegradable polyesters) as stabilizers, dyes, and indicators of aging. The application of polydatin and (+)-catechin as multifunctional additives for biodegradable polymers is a scientific novelty. This paper presents the following analyses of polyester materials: SEM microscopy, wide angle x-ray diffraction, mechanical properties, thermal analysis, surface free energy analysis, and determination of change of color after controlled UV exposure, thermal oxidation and weathering. Both PLA and PHA polyesters were characterized by higher resistance to oxidation and greater resistance to degradation under the influence of UV radiation. In addition, (+)-catechin was used simultaneously as a dye and an indicator of the aging time of polymeric materials. In contrast, polydatin did not dye polymers, but was a very good indicator of their lifetime, changing color under the influence of various external factors. Both polyphenols can be successfully used as natural additives for pro-ecological polyesters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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19 pages, 7562 KiB  
Article
Development of Sustainable and Cost-Competitive Injection-Molded Pieces of Partially Bio-Based Polyethylene Terephthalate through the Valorization of Cotton Textile Waste
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(6), 1378; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061378 - 19 Mar 2019
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 4826
Abstract
This study presents the valorization of cotton waste from the textile industry for the development of sustainable and cost-competitive biopolymer composites. The as-received linter of recycled cotton was first chopped to obtain short fibers, called recycled cotton fibers (RCFs), which were thereafter melt-compounded [...] Read more.
This study presents the valorization of cotton waste from the textile industry for the development of sustainable and cost-competitive biopolymer composites. The as-received linter of recycled cotton was first chopped to obtain short fibers, called recycled cotton fibers (RCFs), which were thereafter melt-compounded in a twin-screw extruder with partially bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (bio-PET) and shaped into pieces by injection molding. It was observed that the incorporation of RCF, in the 1–10 wt% range, successfully increased rigidity and hardness of bio-PET. However, particularly at the highest fiber contents, the ductility and toughness of the pieces were considerably impaired due to the poor interfacial adhesion of the fibers to the biopolyester matrix. Interestingly, RCF acted as an effective nucleating agent for the bio-PET crystallization and it also increased thermal resistance. In addition, the overall dimensional stability of the pieces was improved as a function of the fiber loading. Therefore, bio-PET pieces containing 3–5 wt% RCF presented very balanced properties in terms of mechanical strength, toughness, and thermal resistance. The resultant biopolymer composite pieces can be of interest in rigid food packaging and related applications, contributing positively to the optimization of the integrated biorefinery system design and also to the valorization of textile wastes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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16 pages, 2425 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) Flour Films: Effects of pH and Plasticizer Concentration
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(5), 1246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20051246 - 12 Mar 2019
Cited by 41 | Viewed by 4360
Abstract
The use of flours as a material for biopolymer-based film preparation has gained interest due to the fact that they are a natural mixture of compatible macromolecules and due to their low cost. Chickpea flour shows a promising composition for the development of [...] Read more.
The use of flours as a material for biopolymer-based film preparation has gained interest due to the fact that they are a natural mixture of compatible macromolecules and due to their low cost. Chickpea flour shows a promising composition for the development of edible films. The aim of this study was to characterize and evaluate the properties of chickpea flour films as affected by pH (7 or 10) and plasticizer concentration (1% or 3% w/v) of film-forming solutions. Water vapor permeability, solubility, color, opacity, mechanical properties, thermal stability, structural changes by Fourier transform infrared analysis, and microstructure of the films were determined. Glycerol content and pH influenced chickpea flour film properties, microstructure and structural organization; interactions were also observed. The 1% glycerol films showed lower water vapor permeability, thickness, radical scavenging capacity, elongation at break and puncture deformation, and higher dry matter content, swelling, opacity, elastic modulus, and tensile and puncture strengths than 3% glycerol films. Film-forming solutions at pH 10 produced films with higher thickness and swelling, and were greener than those from solutions at neutral pH. The changes were more intense in 1% glycerol films. Glycerol concentration and pH could be combined in order to obtain chickpea flour films with different properties according to different food packaging requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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14 pages, 2592 KiB  
Article
Effect of Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Coating based on Whey Protein Nanofibrils with TiO2 Nanotubes on the Quality and Shelf Life of Chilled Meat
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(5), 1184; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20051184 - 08 Mar 2019
Cited by 59 | Viewed by 4156
Abstract
Whey protein nanofibrils (WPNFs) can be used in edible films and coatings (EFCs) because of its favorable functional properties, which rely on its well-ordered β-sheet structures, high hydrophobicity, homogeneous structure, and antioxidant activity. In the present study, WPNF-based edible coatings with glycerol [...] Read more.
Whey protein nanofibrils (WPNFs) can be used in edible films and coatings (EFCs) because of its favorable functional properties, which rely on its well-ordered β-sheet structures, high hydrophobicity, homogeneous structure, and antioxidant activity. In the present study, WPNF-based edible coatings with glycerol (Gly) as plastic and titanium dioxide nanotubes (TNTs) as antimicrobial agents were studied. TNTs not only showed greater antibacterial activity than titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TNPs), but also increased interactions with WPNFs. The WPNF/TNT film had a smooth and continuous surface and was homogeneous with good mechanical properties. WPNF/TNT edible coatings (ECs) can help improve lipid peroxidation and antioxidant activity, limit microbial growth, reduce weight loss, and extend the shelf life of chilled beef. Given that the WPNF/TNT film components are low cost and show high antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, these optimized films have potential applications for various food products, including raw and chilled meat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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Review

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18 pages, 311 KiB  
Review
Biopolymers-Based Materials Containing Silver Nanoparticles as Active Packaging for Food Applications–A Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21030698 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 154 | Viewed by 9640
Abstract
Packaging is an integral part of food products, allowing the preservation of their quality. It plays an important role, protecting the packed product from external conditions, maintaining food quality, and improving properties of the packaged food during storage. Nevertheless, commonly used packaging based [...] Read more.
Packaging is an integral part of food products, allowing the preservation of their quality. It plays an important role, protecting the packed product from external conditions, maintaining food quality, and improving properties of the packaged food during storage. Nevertheless, commonly used packaging based on synthetic non-biodegradable polymers causes serious environmental pollution. Consequently, numerous recent studies have focused on the development of biodegradable packaging materials based on biopolymers. In addition, biopolymers may be classified as active packaging materials, since they have the ability to carry different active substances. This review presents the latest updates on the use of silver nanoparticles in packaging materials based on biopolymers. Silver nanoparticles have become an interesting component of biodegradable biopolymers, mainly due to their antimicrobial properties that allow the development of active food packaging materials to prolong the shelf life of food products. Furthermore, incorporation of silver nanoparticles into biopolymers may lead to the development of materials with improved physical-mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers as Food Packaging Materials)
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