Herein, we fabricated a starch-based flexible coating for food packaging papers with excellent hydrophobicity and antimicrobial properties. FTIR (Fourier transform infrared) and XRD (X-ray diffraction) spectra revealed the homogeneous dispersion of the ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) in the composite film within 5% ZnO NP dosage. SEM (scanning electron microscope) and AFM (atomic force microscope) micrographs confirmed the increased roughness on the composite film with the increased dosages of ZnO NPs. Hydrophobic characteristics showed that dramatic enhancement was obtained in the values and stabilities of DCAs (dynamic contact angles) in the resultant film and coated paper. TG (thermogravimetry) results demonstrated the increased thermal stabilities of the composite films. Significantly, a decreased water vapor transmission rate was observed in the coated paper. When 20% guanidine-based starch and 2% CMC (carboxy methyl cellulose) was added, a flexible coating with excellent antimicrobial activity towards Escherichia coli
can be obtained. Furthermore, the migration of ZnO NPs into the food simulants was well below the overall migration legislative limit. The resultant starch-based flexible composite film and coated paper established an effective approach to develop a green-based material for food packaging applications.
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