Abstract: The main topic of this paper is a focus on some non-conventional tools to preserve the microbiological and physico-chemical quality of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. The quality of fresh-cut foods is the result of a complex equilibrium involving surface microbiota, storage temperature, gas in the headspace and the use of antimicrobials. This paper proposes a short overview of some non-conventional approaches able to preserve the quality of this kind of product, with a special focus on some new ways, as follows: (1) use of edible or antimicrobial-containing coatings (e.g., chitosan-based coatings) on fruits or vegetables; (2) alternative modified atmospheres (e.g., high O2-modified atmosphere packaging (MAP)) or the use of essential oils in the headspace; (3) conditioning solutions with antimicrobials or natural compounds for fruit salad; and (4) biopreservation and use of a probiotic coating.
Abstract: The barrier resistance and wettability of papers are commonly controlled by the application of petroleum-based derivatives such as polyethylene, waxes and/or fluor- derivatives as coating. While surface hydrophobicity is improved by employing these polymers, they have become disfavored due to limitations in fossil-oil resources, poor recyclability, and environmental concerns on generated waste with lack of biodegradation. Alternatively, biopolymers including polysaccharides, proteins, lipids and polyesters can be used to formulate new pathways for fully bio-based paper coatings. However, difficulties in processing of most biopolymers may arise due to hydrophilicity, crystallization behavior, brittleness or melt instabilities that hinder a full exploitation at industrial scale. Therefore, blending with other biopolymers, plasticizers and compatibilizers is advantageous to improve the coating performance. In this paper, an overview of barrier properties and processing of bio-based polymers and their composites as paper coating will be discussed. In particular, recent technical advances in nanotechnological routes for bio-based nano- composite coatings will be summarized, including the use of biopolymer nanoparticles, or nanofillers such as nanoclay and nanocellulose. The combination of biopolymers along with surface modification of nanofillers can be used to create hierarchical structures that enhance hydrophobicity, complete barrier protection and functionalities of coated papers.
Abstract: The most fashionable trends in food packaging research are targeted towards improvements in food quality and safety by increasing the use of environmentally-friendly materials, ideally those able to be obtained from bio-based resources and presenting biodegradable characteristics. Edible films represent a key area of development in new multifunctional materials by their character and properties to effectively protect food with no waste production. The use of edible films should be considered as a clean and elegant solution to problems related with waste disposal in packaging materials. In particular, pectin has been reported as one of the main raw materials to obtain edible films by its natural abundance, low cost and renewable character. The latest innovations in food packaging by the use of pectin-based edible films are reviewed in this paper, with special focus on the use of pectin as base material for edible coatings. The structure, properties related to the intended use in food packaging and main applications of pectins are herein reported.
Abstract: The goal of a durable exterior clear coating has eluded generations of coatings technologists, despite long-standing desire amongst the public for such a coating. The journey towards this goal initially focused on modifications to coating formulation, but took a completely different direction when it was found that a UV-transparent silicone clear coating on wood modified with chromic acid met consumer expectations of coating durability. This finding sparked world-wide interest in wood pre-treatments as a way of enhancing the durability of clear coatings. This interest initially focused on transition metal compounds, but has now shifted in the direction of organic and inorganic photostabilizers or even more drastic pre-treatments. Pre-treatments that dimensionally stabilize wood, protect it from microbial degradation and photostabilize lignin, when combined with flexible, photostable, coatings provide the next way-stop on the journey towards achieving the goal of durable exterior clear coatings for wood. This paper reviews this journey, drawing upon our research and that of other groups who have focused on this elusive goal.
Abstract: The calcareous coating formed during cathodic protection (CP) in seawater is known to reduce the current demand by hindering the transport of species required to support the cathodic reactions and, thereby, improve the economic performance of CP systems. There is, however, uncertainty as to whether the coating reduces hydrogen uptake or indeed enhances it. To ascertain this, two sets of samples were polarized at −1.1 V (standard calomel electrode, SCE) in 3.5% w/v NaCl and synthetic seawater (ASTM D1141) at 20 °C and the diffusible hydrogen content measured over a period of 530 h. Under such conditions reports suggest a deposit with two distinct layers, comprising an initial brucite layer followed by an aragonite layer. Contrary to other findings, a fine initial layer containing Ca and Mg followed by a brucite layer was deposited with a few specks of Ca-containing zones in synthetic seawater. The hydrogen uptake was found to occur within the initial 100 h of exposure in synthetic seawater whilst it continued without the benefit of a deposit coating, i.e., in 3.5 wt % NaCl solution.
Abstract: We report on a novel method to fabricate composition gradient, epitaxial La1−xSrxMnO3 thin films with the objective to alleviate biaxial film strain. In this work, epitaxial, composition gradient La1−xSrxMnO3, and pure LaMnO3 and La0.67Sr0.33MnO3 thin films were deposited by radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering. The crystalline and epitaxy of all films were first studied by symmetric θ–2θ X-ray diffraction (XRD) and low angle XRD experiments. Detailed microstructural characterization across the film thickness was conducted by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and electron diffraction. Four compositional gradient domains were observed in the La1−xSrxMnO3 film ranging from LaMnO3 rich to La0.67Sr0.33MnO3 at the surface. A continuous reduction in the lattice parameter was observed accompanied by a significant reduction in the out-of-plane strain in the film. Fabrication of the composition gradient La1−xSrxMnO3 thin film was found to be a powerful method to relieve biaxial strain under critical thickness. Besides, the coexistence of domains with a composition variance is opening up various new possibilities of designing new nanoscale structures with unusual cross coupled properties.