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Review

Applications of Plant Polymer-Based Solid Foams: Current Trends in the Food Industry

1
Research Direction, Universidad Adventista de Chile, Casilla 7-D, Chillán 3780000, Chile
2
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Isidoro Garcia-Garcia
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(20), 9605; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209605
Received: 8 September 2021 / Revised: 4 October 2021 / Accepted: 6 October 2021 / Published: 15 October 2021
Foams are a type of material of great importance, having an extensive range of applications due to a combination of several characteristics, such as ultra-low density, tunable porous architecture, and outstanding mechanical properties. The production of polymer foams worldwide is dominated by those based on synthetic polymers, which might be biodegradable or non-biodegradable. The latter is a great environmental concern and has become a major waste management problem. Foams derived from renewable resources have aroused the interest of researchers, solid foams made from plant polymers in particular. This review focuses on the development of plant polymer-based solid foams and their applications in the food industry over the last fifteen years, highlighting the relationship between their material and structural properties. The applications of these foams fall mainly into two categories: edible foams and packaging materials. Most plant polymers utilized for edible applications are protein-based, while starch and cellulose are commonly used to produce food packaging materials because of their ready availability and low cost. However, plant polymer-based solid foams exhibit some drawbacks related to their high water absorbency and poor mechanical properties. Most research has concentrated on improving these two physical properties, though few studies give a solid understanding and comprehension of the micro- to macrostructural modifications that would allow for the proper handling and design of foaming processes. There are, therefore, several challenges to be faced, the control of solid foam structural properties being the main one. View Full-Text
Keywords: foams; cellulose; natural fibers; mechanical properties; microstructure foams; cellulose; natural fibers; mechanical properties; microstructure
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jarpa-Parra, M.; Chen, L. Applications of Plant Polymer-Based Solid Foams: Current Trends in the Food Industry. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 9605. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209605

AMA Style

Jarpa-Parra M, Chen L. Applications of Plant Polymer-Based Solid Foams: Current Trends in the Food Industry. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(20):9605. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209605

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jarpa-Parra, Marcela, and Lingyun Chen. 2021. "Applications of Plant Polymer-Based Solid Foams: Current Trends in the Food Industry" Applied Sciences 11, no. 20: 9605. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209605

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