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Trends in Chitosan as a Primary Biopolymer for Functional Films and Coatings Manufacture for Food and Natural Products

Elsa Díaz-Montes
1 and
Roberto Castro-Muñoz
Unidad Profesional Interdisciplinaria de Biotecnología, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Av. Acueducto s/n Col. Barrio La Laguna Ticoman, Mexico City 07340, Mexico
Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Toluca. Av. Eduardo Monroy Cárdenas 2000 San Antonio Buenavista, Toluca de Lerdo 50110, Mexico
Department of Process Engineering and Chemical Technology, Faculty of Chemistry, Gdansk University of Technology, 11/12 Narutowicza St., 80-233 Gdansk, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2021, 13(5), 767;
Submission received: 12 February 2021 / Revised: 24 February 2021 / Accepted: 25 February 2021 / Published: 1 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers: Recent Progress and New Perspectives)


Some of the current challenges faced by the food industry deal with the natural ripening process and the short shelf-life of fresh and minimally processed products. The loss of vitamins and minerals, lipid oxidation, enzymatic browning, and growth of microorganisms have been the main issues for many years within the innovation and improvement of food packaging, which seeks to preserve and protect the product until its consumption. Most of the conventional packaging are petroleum-derived plastics, which after product consumption becomes a major concern due to environmental damage provoked by their difficult degradation. In this sense, many researchers have shown interest in edible films and coatings, which represent an environmentally friendly alternative for food packaging. To date, chitosan (CS) is among the most common materials in the formulation of these biodegradable packaging together with polysaccharides, proteins, and lipids. The good film-forming and biological properties (i.e., antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral) of CS have fostered its usage in food packaging. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to collect and discuss the latest development works (over the last five years) aimed at using CS in the manufacture of edible films and coatings for food preservation. Particular attention has been devoted to relevant findings in the field, together with the novel preparation protocols of such biodegradable packaging. Finally, recent trends in new concepts of composite films and coatings are also addressed.

1. Introduction

Recently, it was estimated worldwide that more than 66 million tons of petroleum-based plastics were manufactured specifically for food packaging, including trays, cups, and bottles [1]. The manufacturing of synthetic packaging requires non-renewable natural resources that take many years to degrade, hence its use has been initiated to be banned [2]. To face the environmental pollution by conventional packaging, the packaging based on natural materials has recently received considerable attention due to the advantages over petroleum-based plastics [1], such as natural origin, no toxicity, recycling, biocompatibility, and biodegradability [3,4]. Biodegradable packaging based on renewable raw materials are indeed a viable alternative for preserving the environment [5]. Edible films and coatings arise from the need to reduce the consumption of petroleum-based plastics in food products’ packaging while allowing to maintain quality of foods and extend their shelf-life [6]. To date, several biopolymers have been utilized in the formulation of packaging including starch, gums, gelatin, pectin, and chitosan (CS) [7]. The latter is likely the most investigated biopolymer for biodegradable packaging fabrication, which is reflected in the growing number of publications in the field, as illustrated in Figure 1. Over the last decade, CS has been exponentially explored and even more studied than cellulose, which is the most abundant biopolymer in nature and appreciated for its differentiated polyfunctionality that allows to apply it as a packaging material [8]. The literature has shown the increasing research interest in CS for different concepts of food packaging. Thus, the aim of this review is to show the recent advances (over the last five years) in CS-based edible films and coatings, and their application in food systems, together with the possible interactions and benefits offered to the foods. Also, a brief background on the CS properties is introduced. To finalize, the role of CS in the preparation of functional and new concepts of composite films and coatings is reviewed.

2. Properties and Bioactivity of Chitosan

2.1. Properties of Chitosan

Chitosan (CS) is a natural biopolymer derived by deacetylation (N-acetyl-D-glucosamine to D-glucosamine unit) of chitin (see Figure 2), which has been studied for its effectiveness against bacterial, fungal, and viral pathogens [9]; in addition, CS has demonstrated minimal toxicity in mammals and humans [10]. CS owns a molecular weight (MW) between 10 and 1000 kDa [11], but the MW and degree of acetylation (DA) depend on the type of source [12]. In principle, the DA is defined as the proportion of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine units with respect to the total number of units [11,13]. CS can be obtained from several sources including sea animals (e.g., annelida, mollusca, coelenterate, and crustaceans), insects (e.g., scorpions, spiders, ants, cockroaches, and beetles), microorganisms (e.g., algae, yeast, fungi, ascomycetes, and spores), among others [14]. The different MW and DA of chitosan also influence its physicochemical properties, such as solubility, appearance, rheological properties, among others [11], directly impacting the bioactivity and toxicity of the polysaccharide [10].
CS is a viscous polysaccharide that forms more structured gels when its MW increases; furthermore, it is considered as a pseudoplastic material since its viscosity is a function of concentration, temperature, and rate of shear [11]. The solubility of CS varies depending on DA, and it is insoluble in neutral-alkaline pH but highly soluble in acid pH due to the proportion of protonated amino groups (-NH2) that are positively charged [15]. Depending on its DA, the CS-polyelectrolyte takes different behaviors in solution; for example, if DA is greater than 50%, the molecule maintains the hydrophobic characteristics of chitin, while for a DA between 20% and 50%, the molecule becomes less hydrophobic, and CS, having a DA less than 20%, is considered a highly hydrophilic cationic polyelectrolyte [16]. CS can form amorphous and complex three-dimensional structures due to its polycationic nature that allows it to interact electrostatically (by hydroxyl groups), or to form covalent bonds by -NH2 groups, with other molecules, such as metals, surfactants, proteins, and polyanions [14].

2.2. Bioactivity of Chitosan

Bioactivity is defined as the ability of a material to chemically interact with compounds, microorganisms, or pathogens [17]. The bioactivity of CS has been related to the antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, providing important contributions in different applications, such as additives, agro-food, pharmaceutical, and medical [18]. Bioactivity is determined by intrinsic, environmental, and microbial factors, as shown in Figure 3.
The intrinsic properties can be modified by varying the temperature and time of exposure when CS is in dispersion [16]. The antimicrobial activity is totally dependent on the pH of the medium and the solubility of CS [19]. For instance, a stronger inhibitory effect has been demonstrated at lower pH, such inhibitory effect decreases as the pH increases, and this is attributed to the neutralization of the -NH2 groups in the alkaline medium [16,20]. CS can also act as a chelator for metal ions (e.g., nickel, zinc, cobalt, iron, magnesium, and copper) [21], and some studies promote its addition to modify the ionic strength [16], however divalent ions have been shown to attenuate the inhibitory activity of CS [22]. Regarding the antimicrobial effect of CS, Table 1 lists some of the pathogens that have been inhibited by CS.
According to the insights documented by several authors, the antibacterial effect of CS on prokaryotic cells (e.g., Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria) depends on the electrostatic interactions between the biopolymer and bacterial cell wall components (e.g., teichoic and lipoteichoic acids, and lipopolysaccharides), altering stiffness and eventually entering into the cell [25]. The antifungal effect of CS on eukaryotic cells is thanks to the biopolymer cationic power acting on the residues of the mannoproteins (i.e., sialic acid) located on the surface; once inside the cells, CS can chelate metals (e.g., potassium, calcium, and sodium), denature proteins due to the effect of the net negative charge, or interact with DNA via nucleic acid phosphate groups [25]. The antiviral effect may be due to the interaction between CS and the RNA of viruses via phosphate groups [24]. To sum up, Figure 4 represents most of the reported mechanisms of action of CS toward pathogens.
Thanks to its demonstrated bioactivity, CS has become an alternative in post-harvest food treatment to control the decomposition and extend shelf-life by the inhibitory effect against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. One of the feasible ways of applying CS has been as a film due to its filmogenic properties [18], allowing its proper tailoring in edible films and coatings. Hence, the following section addresses the relevant findings aimed at implementing CS in edible films and coatings with potential application into food packaging and preservation. To provide a better understanding in edible film and coating preparation, a background on the key characteristics required from materials for such applications is given.

3. Advances in Chitosan-Based Edible Films and Coatings

3.1. Key Characteristics of Edible Films and Coatings

Edible films and coatings are made of any biopolymeric material dispersed in an aqueous phase with additives (e.g., plasticizers and surfactants) [26]. Once the biomaterials are cast and dried, they may be able to form a sheet of less than 0.3 mm thick [27]. The main difference between an edible film and a coating deals with the fabrication mode [2,28]; for example, a typical edible film is fabricated on a mold (e.g., Teflon, glass, or ceramic) and it can be generated in monolayers (i.e., single biopolymer layer), multilayers (i.e., two or more biopolymers added separately), or as composite films (i.e., a mix of more than two biopolymers) using the solvent evaporation technique or casting [29]. On the other hand, edible coatings are directly applied on the product through three different scenarios: (i) by immersion [30], (ii) spread [31], or (iii) sprayed [32].
The materials used in edible films and coatings must have the ability to form rigid matrices [33,34], and thus be capable to protect the product from ultraviolet (UV)-light, and mechanical and pathogen damage; besides, they may display a controlled transport of gases (e.g., oxygen, carbon dioxide, and ethylene) and water vapor between the environment and the product, and vice versa. Together with all such features, the films and coatings must also maintain the original quality and nutritional characteristics of foods as long as possible and do not modify organoleptic properties [28,35,36,37]. Therefore, mechanical (e.g., elastic modulus, tensile strength, and elongation at break) and permeability properties are among the most important parameters to evaluate the functionality of edible films and coatings, since they indicate the resistance to product handling [38,39] and transfer of gases and vapors that can promote the growth of microorganisms and thus affect the maturation and senescence of food products [40]. Here, it is worth to highlight that the mechanical properties are not only highly influenced by the types of biopolymers, but also the addition of plasticizers (e.g., glycerol and sorbitol) [41] and surfactants (e.g., Tween 20 and Tween 80) [42]. By interacting with the biopolymeric materials, both agents (i.e., plasticizers and surfactants) cause a chemical modification of the three-dimensional matrix, specifically by increasing its hydrophobicity, leading to a reduction in interactions with water [43]. Permeability properties depend on the chemical structure, the nature of the gases, their solubility and diffusion across the polymer matrix, and handling conditions (i.e., temperature and pressure) [44,45]. Crucially, the morphological and structure properties of the edible films and coatings, which in turn depend on the preparation protocol used, greatly influence the transport of gases and vapors [46]. For instance, Table 2 elucidates some of the mechanical and permeability properties of polymers and biopolymers used in commercial food packaging and edible films, respectively.

3.2. Recent Advances in Chitosan-Based Edible Films and Coatings

As mentioned previously, CS is likely one of the most explored biopolymers in the manufacture of edible films and coatings. Table 3 summarizes the most updated development works aimed at using CS in the formulation of edible films and coatings over the last decade. Some authors have formulated and tailored CS-based edible films using different concepts of films, including monolayer, multilayer, and composites, varying the polysaccharide concentration and additives, as well as using different temperatures and drying technologies (e.g., irradiation, UV, or oven drying).
As a starting point, most of the research has been focused on evaluating different preparation conditions, incorporation of additives, polymer blending, embedding of bioactive compounds, natural extracts, among others, aiming to improve and extend the application of CS-based films and coatings. For instance, Homez-Jara et al. [7] evaluated the effect of the properties of CS-based films with different CS concentrations (from 0.5% up to 1.5% (w/v)) and drying temperatures (from 2 up to 40 °C). The moisture content (from 10.8% up to 31.3%) was mainly affected by drying temperature, which means that a higher temperature conducted to a lower moisture content. The effect on the mechanical properties (such as tensile strength and elongation at break) did not show a linear relationship with respect to the variation of CS concentration and temperature; however, the highest tensile strength (656 MPa) was obtained with the highest concentration and temperature (1.5% w/v and 40 °C, respectively) and the highest elongation at break (42.4%) occurred with a medium concentration and lowest drying temperature (1.0% w/v and 2 °C, respectively), while the water vapor permeability of the CS-based films decreased gradually (from 72.5 to 0.27 × 10−11 g m−1 s−1 Pa−1) with the increase of the CS concentration. Nevertheless, Zhang et al. [63] showed that the CS concentration (from 1% up to 2% w/v) influenced the increase in tensile strength (from 16 up to 28.5 MPa) and the decrease in elongation (from 10.5% down to 9.4%), while the increase in drying temperature (from 20 up to 80 °C) reduced the tensile strength (from 18.6 down to 12.2 MPa) and elongation (from 12.3% down to 9.7%). However, the authors noted that the addition of a plasticizer, such as glycerol (from 0% up to 1% w/w), decreased the water vapor permeability in CS-based films from 5 to 4.36 g·cm m−2·h−1·kPa−1 and water solubility about 25%. Interestingly, the application of a plasticizer does not always result in a beneficial factor on the mechanical and permeable properties of edible films and coatings, for example, the study reported by Farahnaky et al. [114] showed that wheat starch films became more brittle and less elastic with the addition of glycerol; furthermore, the permeability increased, possibly due to the structural modification generated between the starch and plasticizer, which caused a dense structure with greater movement, but less resistance.
The drying temperature and humidity are the main driving forces during the dehydration of materials and products [115]; however, the drying protocol in CS-based edible films has not been limited to such parameters. For example, Abraham et al. [49] noted that the intensity microwave radiation (from 60% up to 100%) had a greater influence than the application time (from 1 up to 5 min) in the drying CS-based edible films with vanillin (from 1% up to 4%), which was reflected in the increase of the swelling index from 321% up to 800%. Souza et al. [76], for instance, applied different electric field intensities (from 100 up to 200 V cm−1) and noted that higher electrical intensity resulted in a greater crystallinity of the films, and consequently improved the tensile strength and elongation at break. This is, perhaps, due to the fact that the energy emitted modifies the molecule charges, allowing more physical, chemical, and hydrogen bonds between molecules, and thus a strong three-dimensional matrix is generated.
Regardless of the drying method (by oven, microwave radiation, or electric fields) or the film-forming materials (e.g., beeswax) [116], several studies have shown that the faster drying of edible films generates usually more homogeneous structures and with greater crystallinity, while it has been documented that crystallinity promotes and improves mobility and mechanical properties [99,105].
To extend the application and functionality of the CS-based films and coatings, the incorporation of biologically active compounds extracted from naturals extracts into CS film formulations has been reported. The use of plants and their extracts has been carried out empirically since ancient times, particularly for the treatment of infectious diseases; however, it was later discovered that the alleviation of symptoms was linked to the antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of such bioactive molecules [117]. Active compounds can be obtained directly from plenty of natural sources, such as propolis, mint, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, boldo-do-chile, guarana, murta, grape, and pomegranate, to mention just a few of them. Such biologically active compounds can be extracted by means of organic solvents extractions (e.g., water, ethanol, and methanol) [118], membrane processes [119], among other emerging extraction technologies (e.g., high-voltage electrical discharges, microwave-assisted extraction, ultrasound-assisted extraction, and pulsed ohmic heating) [120]. Once the active compounds have been successfully extracted, their importance relies on their potential antioxidant activity together with inhibitory effect against bacteria and fungi [121], especially phenolic compounds (e.g., catechin, rutin, kaempferol, and chlorogenic, caffeic, and ferulic acids) [122]. Importantly, the characteristics and properties of the CS-based edible films and coatings may change with the addition of the natural extracts. For example, Siripatrawan and Vitchayakitti [55] observed that propolis extract reduced the permeability to water vapor (about 28%) and oxygen (about 62%) but improved the tensile strength (about 266%) and elongation at break (about 140%) of CS-based films. Interestingly, the enhanced mechanical properties can be substantially related to a possible cross-linking effect [123], e.g., it has been reported that a strong interaction between the CS and phenolic components, such as quercetin, naringenin, and baicalin [124], can potentially produce a crosslinking reaction, resulting in a compact structure of the resulting edible films [77]. In addition to this, the phenolic compounds of the extract were possibly responsible for antimicrobial and antioxidant properties [55]. Concurrently, Rubilar et al. [43] also observed that CS-based films with grape seed extract (from 160 up to 684 ppm) and carvacrol (from 9.6 up to 90 ppm) decreased the physical properties (water solubility by 9% and moisture content by 67%), water vapor permeability (about 48%), and mechanical properties (tensile strength by 67% and elongation at break by 145%) in direct relation to the carvacrol concentration; unfortunately, this negative reduction was possibly attributed to the mobility decrease of the polymer matrix by the carvacrol hydrophobicity [57]. On the contrary, the incorporation of natural extracts has been done in different studies, confirming the improvement of CS-based films in terms of tensile strength and antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus, as reported by Kanatt et al. [65], who added peppermint and pomegranate extracts into CS.
Essential oils are defined as complex mixtures of more than 300 volatile chemical compounds with low molecular weight (<1000 Da) [125], and they have also been recognized due to their healing power towards diseases transmitted by pathogenic microorganisms [126]. Positively, their popularity has recently increased in the food industries and research areas since they are recognized as a green alternative of additives that improve the quality of food and perishable products [127]. Some studies have demonstrated that essential oils contained in different parts of the plant, such as flowers, leaves, fruits, roots, stems, and seeds [128], exhibit antimicrobial, analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, anesthetic, and antioxidant effects [129]. Nowadays, the tuning of characteristics and properties of edible films and coatings by the addition of essential oils in formulations is continuously evaluated.
Avila-Sosa et al. [67] proved a better antifungal effect against Aspergillus niger and Penicillium digitatum in CS-based films by enriching with essential oils from oregano or cinnamon. While, Hafsa et al. [53] found that the eucalyptus essential oil showed antiradical activity, especially against 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), nitric oxide, and hydrogen peroxide in CS-based films. More recently, Peng and Li [61] noted that lemon, thyme, and cinnamon essential oils inhibited Escherichia coli by 474%, 1969%, and 1895% respectively, and Staphylococcus aureus by 575%, 3619%, and 2427%, respectively. Additionally, essential oils slightly decreased the water vapor permeability by 5.3%, 2.4%, and 5.0% respectively, while the water solubility was decreased by 51%, 28%, and 34%, respectively. The elongation at break was also negatively affected by 54%, 31%, and 42% respectively, but the essential oils increased the opacity in CS-based films by 601%, 272%, and 281%, respectively. When essential oils were blended in mixture, some studied properties were significantly affected; for example, the tensile strength, opacity, and water solubility decreased by about 25%, 784%, and 26% respectively, but the antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus increased by 1511% and 2089%, respectively. The inhibition is thanks to the phenolic content of essential oils since they are responsible for neutralizing reactive species and interacting with the membrane components of microorganisms by the contribution of electrons [130,131].
As a current trend in the field, the design for tailoring single, composite, or multilayer films is a latent way of film fabrication. Pereda et al. [85] generated two types of composite and bilayer films based on CS and bovine gelatin. Basically, the authors dispersed both biopolymer phases to generate composite films, while a general multilayer methodology was also used to generate bilayer films. Theoretically, the dispersions were made separately by casting technique, one dispersion is dried before pouring the next one [58]. According to Pereda’s findings, both concepts of films presented smooth and homogeneous surface; however, the bi-layered films displayed an interface between layers, which indicated a lack of compatibility, compactness, and adhesion among biopolymers [85]. Both films showed similar tensile at break (6.27 and 8.55 MPa, respectively) but the composite films had especially a higher percentage of elongation at break (85.4% against 41.0%); in addition to this, the inhibitory power of both films against Escherichia coli was not affected. Unlike Pereda’s work [85], Zhang et al. [80] reported good compatibility and improvement in properties of copy paper covered by a bilayer films based on CS and beeswax, specifically in the decrement of the water vapor permeability (up to 98%). This was attributed to the viscoelasticity of beeswax since it allowed the adhesion of CS and copy paper while the malleability of the biopolymeric matrix allows the transport of vapor [132]. In this study, the authors confirmed the excellent capacity of CS as an emulsifier to prepare stable lipid latex with beeswax thanks to the electrostatic interaction between positively charged CS and negatively charged lipids (carboxyl groups) of beeswax [133].

3.3. Applications of Chitosan-Based Edible Films and Coatings on Food Products Models

In principle, the main objective of using edible films and coatings in food products pursues their preservation, serving as an alternative to conventional packaging [33]. Of course, the most challenging task of edible films and coatings deals with the preservation of the natural characteristics of foods and delays spoilage due to physical damage, and chemical and biochemical reactions [134]. Such targets have been successfully achieved by edible films and coatings based on CS, for instance, Table 4 summarizes outstanding studies in which several food products (e.g., fruits, vegetables, animal products, and dairy) have been preserved with CS-based edible films and coatings, highlighting the meaningful impact of using such materials in the productsʹ quality.
By keeping in mind that food spoilage is influenced by oxygen, water content, temperature, relative humidity, and pH [176], the physicochemical and mechanical properties of the films should efficiently control such storage conditions, and as a consequence, maintain the physical and sensory characteristics together with the protection against microbiological pathogens and increase foods’ shelf-life [177]. This becomes more important in perishable natural foods (e.g., fruits and vegetables), which continue to metabolize and breathe after harvest, which means they consume oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, ethylene, and water (in different proportions), which causes the product ripening and later its decomposition [178], whereas the decomposition in perishable foods of animal origin (e.g., meat and seafood) begins immediately after death because they are highly susceptible to microbial attack by Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella [179]. For this reason, the application of edible films and coatings is mostly directed towards highly perishable products to preserve their quality (e.g., taste, texture, and appearance) for a longer time.
Apriyanti et al. [137] applied a functional CS film enriched with green tea extract for the protection of strawberries. Since such natural extract contains considerably high amounts of phenolic compounds, they noted an increase in the phenolic content according to the gallic acid equivalents (GAE) from 3.5 up to ~14 mg GAE g−1, as well as increased antioxidant capacity from 5% up to ~70%, which in fact was dependent on the concentration of CS and tea extract. Similarly, using strawberries as a model, Perdones et al. [148] proved that the properties of the strawberries did not change significantly by packing with CS coatings containing lemon essential oil; more importantly, lemon essential oil successfully extended shelf-life of the strawberries by mitigating the fungal attack. In another investigation, Vu et al. [158] covered strawberries with a film-forming solution of CS and different essential oils extracted from limonene, oregano, thyme, peppermint, or lemongrass. Practically, the authors noted an extension of fruits’ shelf-life for over double the time (14 days); in addition, the greatest inhibitory effect on the native flora (43.3 mm in inhibition diameter) and molds (57.5 mm in inhibition diameter) were achieved when using red thyme essential oil, and the least effect (0.0 and 15.5 mm in inhibition diameter, respectively) was generated by limonene essential oil. Although the authors did not precisely state the reason for the efficacy of red thyme essential oil, they attribute it to its antifungal power that has been previously studied on native flora from strawberries (against Botrytis cinerea and Rhizopus stolonifer) [180].
More recently, Yusof et al. [165] coated strawberries with a complex edible coating based on a CS-corn starch blend enriched with Curcuma longa L. essential oil. A good interaction between the two biopolymers was improved by the essential oil addition; in general, the coatings inhibited the native flora of the fruit and concurrently extended its shelf-life for 5 days without refrigeration. Similarly, Azevedo et al. [166] used CS-based edible coatings formulated with cassava starch and Lippia gracilis essential oil to protect strawberries, noting that the essential oil increased the antimicrobial and antifungal effect against yeasts, molds (up to 99.8%), and psychotropic bacteria (up to 98.7%), maintaining a bacteriostatic effect on total and thermo-tolerant coliforms according to the most probable number (<3 MPN g−1).
By preparing a composite film, Velickova et al. [82] used three-layer coatings of beeswax/CS/beeswax to preserve strawberries. The addition of the wax improved the tensile strength and elastic modulus of the coating, while maturity index of the fruit decreased due to control of respiration rate and fungal infection, with the latter attributed to beeswax. It is important to mention that thanks to its rich hydrophobic protective properties, the beeswax is indeed used in cosmetics and body products [181]. The bilayer effect was also evaluated by Nowzari et al. [162], who formulated a film-forming solution with CS and fish gelatin to protect rainbow trout. This study evaluated the food protection in two different scenarios, (i) by dipping one polymer followed by the other, and (ii) by wrapping with film in pre-made bilayer. The authors were monitoring the free fatty acids content over a period of 16 days; in theory, these are the result of enzymatic hydrolysis of esterified lipids (e.g., phospholipids and triglycerides), promoting oxidation reactions with proteins [182,183]. The results showed a greater slowdown in the free fatty acids formation using bilayer films and the same inhibitory effect (of about 40%) of native pathogens with both coatings [162].
In some other perishable products, such as cheeses and meats, the nutritional content and the water content are the most sensitive parameters during their storage since they allow the proliferation of microorganisms and the degradation of the product [184]. In the light of cheese preservation, Brown et al. [136] protected fresh cheese using a coating based on CS, hydrogen peroxide, lauric arginate, and calcium sulfate. Until now, it has been well-proven the efficiency of CS to extend the shelf-life of food products and control the action of pathogens. The embedding of different antimicrobials, such as essential oils, enzymes, and bioactive compounds, has also provided an enhanced activity towards the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, however, simple additives and chemicals, such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, lauric arginate, and sodium caprylate, have also been recognized for their effectiveness in inhibiting Listeria monocytogenes in broth and whole milk. Therefore, Brown and co-workers analyzed the further antimicrobial effect of hydrogen peroxide, lauric arginate, and calcium sulfate into CS when utilized before or after surface contamination at refrigerated storage. After evaluation, the authors concluded that such formulated films successfully controlled the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and extended the shelf-life of the cheese up to 35 days with refrigeration. Fajardo et al. [156] used CS-based edible films containing natamycin, which was subsequently implemented to protect Saloio cheese against Aspergillus niger. By releasing the fungicide, a suitable inhibition of the strain was reached, controlling its growth, and the shelf-life increased from 7 days (at 25 °C) up to 37 days (at 4 °C). In previous studies, the success has been mainly attributed to the additives that synergistically improved the biological activity of CS acting against pathogenic organisms. CS also offers the possibility to be blended with protein materials, as shown by Di Piero et al. [173]. Here, the authors combined CS and whey protein to fabricate films for the conservation of ricotta cheese. These proposed films delayed undesirable acidity, improved texture, maintained sensory characteristics, and inhibited mesophilic and psychotropic bacteria at modified atmosphere of CO2/Nitrogen (N2).
Ruiz-Cruz et al. [135] have very recently increased the chicken fillets shelf-life over 16 days due to the inhibition of mesophilic, psychophilic, and coliform bacteria by means of CS-based edible coatings enriched with tomato extract, which acted as an antimicrobial and antioxidant compound. On the other hand, Karimnezhad et al. [138] achieved a greater reduction of aerobic, psychrophilic, and coliform bacteria for 12 days, maintaining the odor, color, taste, texture, and acceptability of the chicken meat. Such benefits were related to the excellent action and protective effect of CS films loaded with Trachyspermum ammi extract.

4. Concluding Remarks

Bio-packaging made from biodegradable materials is a current trend in the field of preservation of food products, however, it is still an important challenge for food technicians since the materials must meet specific requirements to protect food products. CS-based edible films and coatings have successfully demonstrated their ability to fabricate different concepts of monolayer or composite films.
The ability of CS to form edible films is mainly due to its polycationic nature that allows it to work in conjunction with other biopolymers and additives. This synergy causes strong physical interactions between all the components, which reflects the improvement of the physical, mechanical, and permeability properties. In addition, the bioactive potential of CS-edible films is originated by its intrinsic properties such as antimicrobial, antifungal, and antioxidant capacities. These features make CS potentially interesting compared with other biomaterials.
The evidence on CS-edible films and coatings shows that they meet the requirements to be part of the so-called "green" bio-packaging and be an alternative to synthetic packaging. However, this type of technology is highly targeted towards characteristics that must be adequate and specific for the type of food to be protected, making the area of edible films or coatings have a great potential for study. Finally, since several bioactive compounds extracted from natural sources are providing various benefits to human health, it is likely that CS will continue to be explored as a support for the incorporation of new functional edible films.

5. Future Perspectives

Beyond the ecological aspect that CS represents within the food and packaging industries when used for "green" bio-packaging, it must be specified that it is a highly important polysaccharide due to its availability in nature to acquire it. For instance, it is believed that the global chitin and chitosan market could reach $4.2 billion by 2021 from $2.0 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4% [185], while most of the new environmentally friendly materials are still not consolidated. At this point, CS has been widely studied and proven in plenty of applications, and currently has meaningful interest in medicine, cosmetics, the food industry, and biotechnology [186]. Moreover, it has shown its ability to form sustainable films, and more interestingly, it is able to interact with other polymeric materials, resulting in new blends with enhanced properties. CS has also demonstrated its ability to incorporate a number of bioactive components in its matrix. We believe that CS will still be explored for its ability in carrying bioactive compounds toward functional bio-packing manufacture. Nevertheless, these industries are in constant biotechnological renovation to market better quality food products with better benefits to the consumer, where the implementation of CS is fostered for intelligent packaging.
Today, intelligent packaging is a complex system generated mostly from petroleum-based plastics according to available development works. However, trends clearly show that bio-packaging will also improve to become part of these systems to monitor, generate, and display relevant information about the product. Therefore, the nature of CS and its compatibility with various materials make it a candidate to evolve into these new packaging technologies.

Author Contributions

E.D.-M.: writing—original draft preparation, writing—review and editing; R.C.-M.: writing—original draft preparation, writing—review and editing, supervision, validation. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

Data are contained within the article.


E. Díaz-Montes thanks Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT No. 593731) for the financing granted. R. Castro-Muñoz acknowledges the School of Science and Engineering and the FEMSA-Biotechnology Center at Tecnológico de Monterrey for their support through the Bioprocess (0020209I13) Focus Group. Financial support from Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) under Ulam Programme (Agreement No. PPN/ULM/2020/1/00005/U/00001) is also gratefully acknowledged.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Figure 1. Publication number related to the fabrication of food packaging based on biopolymers (source Scopus, keywords: cellulose, chitosan, starch, gelatin, gum, alginate, pectin, dextran, soy, pea, whey, beeswax, and carnauba. Accessed: 22 February 2021).
Figure 1. Publication number related to the fabrication of food packaging based on biopolymers (source Scopus, keywords: cellulose, chitosan, starch, gelatin, gum, alginate, pectin, dextran, soy, pea, whey, beeswax, and carnauba. Accessed: 22 February 2021).
Polymers 13 00767 g001
Figure 2. Structure of chitin and chitosan.
Figure 2. Structure of chitin and chitosan.
Polymers 13 00767 g002
Figure 3. Factors involved in the bioactivity of chitosan. Adapted from Reference [16].
Figure 3. Factors involved in the bioactivity of chitosan. Adapted from Reference [16].
Polymers 13 00767 g003
Figure 4. Proposed interactions and mechanism of action between chitosan and pathogens (Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and viruses). Adapted from References [24,25].
Figure 4. Proposed interactions and mechanism of action between chitosan and pathogens (Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and viruses). Adapted from References [24,25].
Polymers 13 00767 g004
Table 1. Pathogens inhibited by the action of chitosan.
Table 1. Pathogens inhibited by the action of chitosan.
Types of PathogensExamplesReferences
Gram-positiveBacillus spp.
Listeria monocytogenes
Staphylococcus aureus
Gram-negativeAeromonas hydrophila
Escherichia coli
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Salmonella typhymurium
Shigella dysenteriae
Vibrio cholera
Vibrio parahaemolyticus
PhytopathogensAlternaria alternata
Aspergillus niger
Botrytis cinerea
Candida albicans
Colletotrichum spp.
Fusarium oxysporum
Lasiodiplodia theobromae
Monilinia fructicola
Monilinia laxa
Penicillium spp.
Physalospora piricola
Rhizoctonia solani
Rhizopus stolonifer
Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
Verticillium albo-atrum
PhytopathogensAlfalfa mosaic virus
Bean goldish mosaic virus
Peanut stunt virus
Tobacco mosaic virus
Potato virus X and Y
Figwort mosaic virus
Cucumber mosaic virus
Bean common mosaic virus
Potato spindle tuber viroid
Table 2. General properties of polymers and biopolymers used in food packaging.
Table 2. General properties of polymers and biopolymers used in food packaging.
Packaging MaterialsMechanical PropertiesBarrier PropertiesReferences
Polymer materials *
Low-density polyethyleneTough and flexibleHigh moisture barrier and very low gas barrier[47]
Linear low-density polyethyleneTough and extensibleHigh moisture barrier and very low gas barrier
High-density polyethyleneTough, stiff, strong, and easy to formExtremely high moisture barrier and very low gas barrier
PolypropyleneModerately stiff and strongHigh moisture barrier and low gas barrier
PolyestersHigh impact-resistance, low scratch-resistance, tough and strongHigh barrier to gases and moisture
Polyethylene terephthalateStiff and strongGood barrier to gases and moisture
Polyethylene naphthalateStiffGood barrier to gases and moisture
Polyvinyl chlorideStrong and stiff ductileHigh moisture barrier and moderate oxygen barrier
Polyvinylidene dichlorideStrong and stiff ductileExcellent barrier to oxygen and moisture
PolystyreneHard and brittleLow barrier to moisture and air
Ethylene vinyl alcoholStiff and strongExcellent moisture barrier and high air barrier
PolyamideStiff and strongHigh barrier to air and moisture
Biopolymer films **
CellophaneGoodModerate moisture barrier and good oxygen barrier[48]
Cellulose acetateGoodModerate moisture barrier and poor oxygen barrier
Polylactic acidGoodModerate moisture barrier and poor oxygen barrier
Methyl celluloseModerateModerate barrier to moisture and oxygen
Hydroxypropyl methylcelluloseModerateModerate barrier to moisture and oxygen
GelatinNot applicablePoor moisture barrier and good oxygen barrier
ZeinModerateModerate barrier to moisture and oxygen
GlutenModerateModerate moisture barrier and good oxygen barrier
Soy protein isolateModeratePoor moisture barrier and good oxygen barrier
CaseinNot applicablePoor moisture barrier and good oxygen barrier
Whey protein isolateModeratePoor moisture barrier and good oxygen barrier
* Conditions are based on commercial packaging; ** Conditions depend on the plasticizer and the thickness of the packaging material.
Table 3. Chitosan (CS)-based edible films and coatings.
Table 3. Chitosan (CS)-based edible films and coatings.
Biopolymeric MatricesCS PropertiesAdditivesOutstanding ResultsReferences
CS15% DAVanillin
Acetic acid
Microwave irradiation was a rapid, reliable, and economic method cross-linking[49]
CS50–190 kDa MW; 15–25% DAAcetic acid
Tween 80
Improvement of water vapor permeability, solubility, tensile strength, and optical properties[7]
CSMedium MW; 15% DAPistacia extracts
Acetic acid
Antioxidant activity improvement
Inhibition of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella
Quaternized carboxymethyl CS16% DAPolyvinyl alcohol
Copper sulfate
Mechanical and thermal properties improvement
Inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli
CS190–310 kDa MW; 15–25% DASilybum marianum extract
Sodium montmorillonite
Acetic acid
Improvement of water vapor permeability, water resistance, antioxidant activity, and mechanical properties[52]
Shrimp-CS<25% DAEucalyptus essential oil
Acetic acid
Improvement of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities[53]
CSHigh MW; 22% DAThyme essential oil
Basil essential oil
Oleic acid
Acetic acid
Improvement of emulsion stability and water vapor permeability[54]
CS5% DAPropolis extract
Acetic acid
Improvement of mechanical properties, permeability, and antimicrobial and antioxidant activities[55]
CSHigh MW; 5% DAArabinoxylans
Lactic acid
Tween 80
Improvement of mechanical and prebiotic properties[56]
CS400 kDa MW
180 kDa MW
41 kDa MW
Acetic acid
Inhibition of Pseudomona fragi, Shewanella putrefaciens, and Aeromonas hydrophila
Carvacrol release was faster with CH of high MW
CS165 kDa MW; <15% DACarvacrol
Acetic acid
Gas permeability improvement
Carvacrol release was faster with relative humidity
CS800 kDa MW; 2–5% DAGallic acid
Acetic acid
Antimicrobial activity improvement
Tensile strength increment
Reduction of water vapor and oxygen permeability
CSLow MW; 15–25% DALysozyme
Lactic acid
Inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes and Pseudomonas fluorescens[60]
Crab-CS10% DALemon essential oil
Thyme essential oil
Cinnamon essential oil
Acetic acid
Tween 20
Decrement of water vapor permeability and elongation
Improvement of barrier properties, emulsion stability, particle size, and viscosity
CS5–20% DATea polyphenols
Acetic acid
Improvement of water vapor permeability and antioxidant activity[62]
CS-Acetic acid
Improvement of mechanical and permeability properties[63]
CSHigh MW; <25% DACarvacrol
Grape seed extract
Acetic acid
Tween 80
Decrement of water vapor and carbon dioxide permeabilities, tensile strength, and elongation at break
Increment of water content and oxygen permeability
CSHigh MW; 15–25% DAThyme essential oils
Lactic acid
Tween 80
Improvement of antibacterial and antioxidant activities[64]
CS186 kDa MW; 10% DAPolyvinyl alcohol
Mint extract
Pomegranate extract
Acetic acid
Tensile strength improvement
Gram-positive bacteria inhibition
CS161 kDa MW; 10% DAOlive oil
Acetic acid
Increment of tensile strength and elongation at break
Decrement of moisture sorption and water vapor permeability
CS450 kDa MWOregano essential oil
Cinnamon essential oil
Lemongrass essential oil
Acetic acid
Tween 20
Inhibition of Aspergillus niger and Penicillium digitatum[67]
CS10% DACorn oil
Lactic acid
Tween 80
Improvement of permeability, and mechanical and optical properties[68]
CS<10% DALactic acid
Improvement of carbon dioxide and water vapor permeabilities, and mechanical properties[69]
CS5% DAɑ-Tocopherol
Lactic acid
Tween 80
Improvement of antioxidant activity and water vapor permeability
Reduction of tensile strength and elongation at break
CS450 kDa MW; 15–25% DAZataria multiflora essential oil
Grape seed extract
Acetic acid
Improvement of water vapor permeability, phenolic content, and antioxidant activity[71]
CSHigh MWThyme essential oil
Basil essential oil
Acetic acid
Improvement of water vapor permeability and optical characteristics[72,73]
CS450 kDa MWOregano essential oil
Acetic acid
Tween 20
Inhibition of Aspergillus niger and Penicillium spp.[74]
CSHigh MW; 17% DABergamot essential oil
Acetic acid
Penicillium italicum inhibition
Water vapor permeability improvement
CS10% DALactic acid
Tween 80
Improvement of crystallinity, structure, tensile strength, and elongation at break[76]
Crab-CS190–310 kDa MW; 15–25% DACinnamon essential oil
Acetic acid
Tween 80
Improvement of antibacterial, physical, and mechanical properties[77]
100 kDa MW; 24% DA
480 kDa MW; 35% DA
Acetic acid
Increment of thermal stability, fungal activity, and mechanical properties[78]
Multilayers (chitosan + other biopolymers)
CS/Pullulan (composite film)/Polyethylene-Glycerol
Lactic acid
Oxygen permeability improvement
Inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus and Aspergillus flavus
CS/Beeswax (composite film)/Copy-paperMedium MW; 15–25% DAAcetic acid
Water vapor permeability improvement[80]
CS/Whey protein isolate165 kDa MW; <15% DAAcetic acid
Improvement of water vapor permeability and mechanical properties[81]
<15% DASodium tripolyphosphate
Acetic acid
Tween 80
Increment of water vapor permeability and stiffness[82]
CS/Wheat starchHigh MWBasil essential oil
Thyme essential oil
Citric acid
Structural change induction
Antioxidant effect increment
Improvement of water vapor permeability and mechanical properties
CS/Polyethylene film165 kDa MW; 15% DAAcetic acid
Decrement of water vapor and gas permeabilities[84]
CS/Bovine gelatin10% DAAcetic acid
Reduction of solubility and water vapor permeability
Mechanical properties improvement
Inhibition of against Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes
Composite film (biopolymers mixture)
Modified CS/Nanocrystalline cellulose15% DAAcetic acidMechanical properties improvement
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa inhibition
CS/Cellulose nanofiber
CS/Lignocellulose nanofiber
190–310 kDa MW; 15–25% DACarum copticum essential oil
Acetic acid
Tween 80
Improvement of solubility, water vapor permeability, and mechanical properties[87]
CS/Pea starchHigh MWThyme extract
Tannic acid
Acetic acid
Improvement of antioxidant activity and mechanical properties[88]
CS/Corn starch30% DALauric acid
Acetic acid
Tensile strength increment
Decrement of elongation and water vapor permeability
Gram-positive bacteria inhibition
CS/Fish gelatin 165 kDa MW; 15% DAQuercetin
Acetic acid
Structure modification
Control of quercetin release
CS/Pigskin gelatinMedium MW; 15–25% DARosemary extract
Cinnamon extract
Boldo-do-chile extract
Guarana extract
Water vapor permeability decrement
Improvement of mechanical properties and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities
Crab-CS/Corn starchLow MW; 15% DA
Medium MW; 15% DA
High MW; 15% DA
Acetic acid
Improvement of structure, water vapor permeability, elasticity, solubility, and resistance by CH of high MW[92]
CS/Fish gelatin3-449 kDa MW; 20–25% DATransglutaminase
Acetic acid
Structural change induction
Mechanical properties increment
CS/Tara gum
CS nanoparticles/Tara gum
100 kDa MW; 10% DAAcetic acid
Improvement of moisture, water vapor permeability, and mechanical properties[94]
CS/Zein50–190 kDa MW; 10% DAGallic acid
Ferulic acid
Succinic acid
Adipic acid
Acetic acid
Improvement of mechanical properties, water vapor permeability, and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities[95]
CS/Potato starch
CS/Cassava starch
149 kDa MW; 10% DAAcetic acid
Glycerol (or glucose)
Tween 20 (or 80)
Increment of tensile strength, elasticity modulus, solubility, and water vapor permeability[96]
CS/Tapioca starch900 kDa MW; 15% DAGraphene platelets
Acetic acid
Improvement of water vapor permeability and mechanical and thermal properties[97]
CS/Zein<25% DAAcetic acid
Improvement of water vapor permeability and mechanical properties[98]
CS/Fish gelatinMedium MW; 15–25% DAAcetic acid
Improvement of tensile strength, elastic modus, and water vapor permeability[99]
CS/Methylcellulose15–25% DAResveratrol
Acetic acid
Structural change induction
Antioxidant activity improvement
CS/Soy protein isolate-Palm stearin
Thermoplasticity improvement[101]
CS/Corn starch190–310 kDa MW; 25% DAMurta leaves extract
Acetic acid
Polymer mobility induction
Mechanical properties improvement
CS/Silk fibroinLow MW; 20% DAAcetic acidRoughness decrement[103]
Crab-CS/Quinoa flour15–25% DASunflower oil
Citric acid
Tween 80
Improvement of water vapor permeability and mechanical properties[104]
Carboxymethyl CS/Pullulan
300 kDa MW; 15% DAAcetic acid
Induction of strong interactions, stability, and flexibility[105]
CS/Wheat starchHigh MW; <23% DAAcetic acid
Improvement of surface charge, the apparent viscosity, bright, thickness, resistance, elongation, water vapor and oxygen permeabilities, and antimicrobial activity[83]
CS/Sodium alginateLow MW; 15–75% DAAcetic acid
Efficient evaluation of microstructure by microscopic techniques[106]
Crab-CS/Corn starch400 kDa MW; 15–25% DAThyme essential oil
Acetic acidTween 80
Improvement of antimicrobial and antioxidant activities[107]
CS nanoparticles/Carboxymethylcellulose71 kDa MW; 6% DAMethacrylic acidWater vapor permeability decrement
Improvement of mechanical properties and thermostability
CS/Quinoa protein408 kDa MW; 23% DALactic acidImprovement water vapor permeability, and mechanical and thermal properties[109]
CS/Whey protein concentrate
10% DALactic acid
Tween 80
Decrement of gas permeability and tensile strength
Elongation at breakage increment
CS/Cellulose nanofibers71 kDa MW; 6% DAAcetic acid
Improvement of mechanical and water vapor permeability properties[111]
CS/Pectin21% DAPolyvinyl alcohol
Acetic acid
Pathogenic bacteria inhibition[112]
CS/Sodium cellulose sulfate118.7 kDa MW; 15% DA
135.3 kDa MW; 15% DA
563.3 kDa MW; 15% DA
723.2 KDa MW; 15% DA
-Biodegradation by pepsin, amylase, and trypsin[113]
CS: chitosan; MW: molecular weight; DA: degree of acetylation.
Table 4. Application of chitosan-based edible films and coatings on food products.
Table 4. Application of chitosan-based edible films and coatings on food products.
Biopolymeric MatricesAdditivesCoating TechniquesModelsResultsReferences
CSTomato plant extract
Acetic acid
DippedChickenQuality parameters conservation
Microbial inhibition
Shelf-life prolongation
CSLactic acid
Hydrogen peroxide
Lauric arginate
Sodium caprylate
DippedFresh cheeseListeria monocytogenes inhibition[136]
CSGreen tea extract
DippedStrawberriesTotal phenolic content increase
Increment of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities
CSTrachyspermum ammi extract
Acetic acid
Tween 80
WrappedChicken meatMicrobial inhibition
Shelf-life prolongation
CSAcetic acid
DippedApplesConservation of weight, water content, and vitamin C[139]
CSAcetic acid
Baby carrotsMicrobial inhibition[140]
CSThymus piperella essential oil
Thymus moroderi essential oil
Lactic acid
Tween 80
WrappedCooked cured hamBacterial inhibition
Lipid oxidation protection
Shelf-life prolongation
CSn.r.DippedLoquatsConservation of polyphenols, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, and carotenoids
Senescence delay
CSAscorbic acid
Citric acid
DippedPlumsReduction of weight loss, respiration rate, and stress
Firmness conservation
CSGarlic oil
Acetic acid
DippedRaw shrimp meatNitrogen content reduction
Shelf-life prolongation
CSAcetic acid
WrappedFresh sea bassBacterial inhibition
Shelf-life prolongation
CSAcetic acid
Tween 80
DippedGuavasRipening process delay
Oxidative stress decrease
CSAcetic acidDippedIndian oil sardineSensory properties conservation
Oxidation compounds reduction
Shelf-life prolongation
CSLemon essential oil
Acetic acid
DippedStrawberriesFungal inhibition
Shelf-life prolongation
CSPalm stearin
Acetic acid
Tween 80
DippedStar fruitsWeight loss reduction
Conservation of firmness, appearance, and quality
CSZataria multiflora essential oil
Grape seed extract
Acetic acid
WrappedReady-to-eat mortadella sausagesShelf-life prolongation[150]
CSAcetic acid
DippedBroccoliBacterial inhibition
Shelf-life prolongation
CSAcetic acidDippedApplesFungal inhibition[152]
CSSunflower oil
Acetic acid (or lactic acid)
WrappedPork meat hamburgersShelf-life prolongation[153]
CSSodium lactate
Sodium diacetate
Potassium sorbate
Acetic acid
WrappedCold-smoked salmonListeria monocytogenes inhibition[154]
CSFish oil
Vitamin E500
Acetic acid
Tween 80
DippedLingcodAcid-reactive substances reduction
Bacterial inhibition
Conservation of lipids, omega-3 fatty acids, and fatty acidsShelf-life prolongation
Acid lactic
Tween 80
WrappedSaloio cheeseAspergillus niger inhibitionShelf-life prolongation[156]
CS silver nanoparticlesGlucoseSpread (four-layer)Tomatoes
Shelf-life prolongation[157]
Modified CSLimonene essential oil
Oregano essential oil
Red thyme essential oil
Peppermint essential oil
Lemongrass essential oil
Acetic acid
Tween 80
SprayedStrawberriesNative pathogens inhibition
Shelf-life prolongation
N, O-carboxymethyl CSSodium chlorite
Acetic acid
DippedPearsEscherichia coli inhibition[159]
CS-GelatinMint essential oil
Thyme essential oil
Acetic acid
WrappedBlack radishListeria monocytogenes inhibition[160]
CS/Bovine gelatinGlycerolDippedBeefReduction of weight loss, lipid oxidation, and discoloration
Shelf-life prolongation
CS/Fish gelatinAcetic acid
Wrapped (bilayer)
Dipped (bilayer)
Rainbow troutBacterial inhibition
Antioxidant effects increase
Lipid oxidation delay
CS/Bovine gelatinClove essential oil
Soy lecithin
Acid lactic
WrappedCodMicroorganisms inhibition[163]
CS/Quinoa proteinHigh oleic sunflower oil
Lactic acid
DippedBlueberriesConservation of firmness and color
Mold inhibition
Shelf-life prolongation
CS/Corn starchCurcuma essential oil
Tween 80
Acetic acid
DippedStrawberriesMicrobial inhibition
Ripening and spoilage delay
CS/Cassava starchEssential oils (from Lippia gracilis Schauer)
Acetic acid
DippedStrawberriesGram-positive bacteria inhibition
Shelf-life prolongation
CS/Mung bean starch
CS/Water chestnut starch
Perilla oil
Acetic acid
SpreadMongolian cheeseInhibition of bacteria and fungi
Weight loss delay
Shelf-life prolongation
CS/Kappa carrageenanSunflower oil
Acetic acid
DippedLongan fruitsShelf-life prolongation[168]
CS/AlginateAcetic acid
Calcium chloride
Dipped (bilayer)MelonsInhibition of bacteria, yeasts, and molds
Firmness conservation
CS/Carboxymethyl cellulose (bilayer)Acetic acidSpreadMandarins, oranges and grapefruitsGlossiness and appearance improvement[170]
Beeswax/CS/Beeswax (three layer)Sodium tripolyphosphate
Acetic acid
Tween 80
DippedStrawberriesNative fungi inhibition
Shelf-life prolongation
CS/O-carboxymethyl CSAcetic acidDippedWhiteleg shrimpMicrobial spoilage delay
Shelf-life prolongation
CS/Quercetin-modifiedEDTACitric acid
Ascorbic acid
DippedCactus fruitsImprovement of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities[172]
CS/Whey proteinHydrochloric acidDippedRicotta cheeseTexture improvement
Sensory characteristics conservation
Shelf-life prolongation
CS/High molecular weight hydroxypropyl methylcelluloseBergamot essential
Acetic acid
DippedGrapesWeight and firmness conservation
Respiration rate reduction
Antimicrobial activity improvement
CS/Sodium caseinateAcetic acid
Inhibition of mesophilic, psychrotrophic, yeast, mold, and bacteria growth[175]
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Díaz-Montes, E.; Castro-Muñoz, R. Trends in Chitosan as a Primary Biopolymer for Functional Films and Coatings Manufacture for Food and Natural Products. Polymers 2021, 13, 767.

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Díaz-Montes E, Castro-Muñoz R. Trends in Chitosan as a Primary Biopolymer for Functional Films and Coatings Manufacture for Food and Natural Products. Polymers. 2021; 13(5):767.

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Díaz-Montes, Elsa, and Roberto Castro-Muñoz. 2021. "Trends in Chitosan as a Primary Biopolymer for Functional Films and Coatings Manufacture for Food and Natural Products" Polymers 13, no. 5: 767.

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