Special Issue "Green Polymer Coatings and Films for Food and Health Applications"

A special issue of Coatings (ISSN 2079-6412). This special issue belongs to the section "Coatings for Food Technology and System".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Fengwei (David) Xie
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM), WMG, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Interests: polymers from renewable resources; natural polymers; biopolymers; biodegradable polymers; biobased polymers, polysaccharides, starch, cellulose, chitosan, chitin, protein, polymer processing, polymer engineering, polymer physics, polymer blends, polymer composites, polymer nanocomposites, sustainable materials, biodegradable materials, functional materials, bioplastics, processing-structure-property relationship
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Binjia Zhang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Key Laboratory of Environment Correlative Dietology (Ministry of Education), College of Food Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, Hubei, China
Interests: natural polymers for food and high-value materials; SAXS/SANS insights into starch; multi-level structure characterization of starch and related modelling; biosynthesis-structure-functionality relationships of starch; real-time structural evolutions of polymers during processing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, there has been a strong research focus on new, ‘green’ polymers for coating and film applications. These polymers principally include biopolymers (mainly polysaccharides such as cellulose, chitin/chitosan, starch and alginate, as well as proteins) and biobased polymers (mainly bio-polyesters such as polylactide, polyhydroxyalkanoates and polyglycolide). The benefit of using these kinds of polymer is multifaceted:

  • They may be used to fabricate edible coatings or films, which are useful for food and pharmaceutical applications;
  • They may result in coatings or films that are degradable in the body or natural environment or under certain conditions, suitable for applications such as ‘green’ packaging, biomedical, drug delivery, etc.;
  • Their unique functionality (e.g. antimicrobial activity of chitosan, chemical versatility of polysaccharides, and biocompatibility) may also enhance their applicability in the above-mentioned areas.

This special issue provides an opportunity to present the progress of coatings and films based on these ‘green’ polymers for food and health applications. Biopolymer and biobased polymers can be modified chemically or physically for desired properties or functionality. There may be technical advancement for the cost-effective production of coatings or films based on these polymers. There could be new coating and film products based on these polymers or their composites developed that show strong application potentials. Research may lead to further understanding of the processing-structure-property/functionality relationships. In short, this special issue welcomes any research studies related to ‘green’ polymer coatings and films that demonstrate science advances and/or have practical significance. Review papers in this area are also welcome.

Dr. Fengwei Xie
Dr. Binjia Zhang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Coatings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biobased polymers
  • Natural polymers
  • Biopolymers
  • Polysaccharides
  • Proteins
  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Edible polymers

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Application of Vegetal Oils in Developing Bioactive Paper-Based Materials for Food Packaging
Coatings 2021, 11(10), 1211; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11101211 - 02 Oct 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
A major disadvantage of conventional food packaging materials is the difficulty in disposal and recycling, due to their high stability to environmental and thermal stress. The trend now is to develop new eco-friendly food packaging that can substitute fossil fuel derived materials. Cellulose, [...] Read more.
A major disadvantage of conventional food packaging materials is the difficulty in disposal and recycling, due to their high stability to environmental and thermal stress. The trend now is to develop new eco-friendly food packaging that can substitute fossil fuel derived materials. Cellulose, the main constituent of paper-based food packages, is a favorable starting material for such purpose. In this study we present a new method to obtain bioactive paper based materials suitable for food packaging applications. By combining eco-friendly activation processes (cold plasma or gamma irradiation) and bioactive plant oils (clove essential oil and rosehip seeds vegetal oil) for modification of kraft paper, new materials with antioxidant and antibacterial activity were obtained. The oil-loaded bioactive paper based materials presented increased hydrophobicity (from 97° contact angle in the case of kraft paper to 115° for oil-loaded sample) and decreased water adsorption (a one-quarter decrease). Due to various interactions with the functional groups of plant oils, the modified kraft paper presents different antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Essential clove oil imprinted higher antioxidant activity (owing to the high content in eugenol and eugenol acetate phenolic compounds) and was more efficient in reducing the bacterial growth on fresh beef meat and on fresh curd cheese. The cold pressed rosehip seeds oil acted as aslightly better antibacterial agent against Listeria monocytogenes (+), Salmonella enteritidis (−) and Escherichia coli (−) bacterial strains. Thus, the newly developed bioactive paper could be used as effective packaging material that can help preserving food quality for longer time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Polymer Coatings and Films for Food and Health Applications)
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Article
The Effect of Extraction Conditions on the Barrier and Mechanical Properties of Kefiran Films
Coatings 2021, 11(5), 602; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11050602 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 711
Abstract
Kefiran is an exopolysaccharide classified as a heteropolysaccharide comprising glucose and galactose in equimolar quantities, and it is classified as a water-soluble glucogalactan. This work aimed to investigate the effect of different extraction conditions of kefiran on the structural and physical properties of [...] Read more.
Kefiran is an exopolysaccharide classified as a heteropolysaccharide comprising glucose and galactose in equimolar quantities, and it is classified as a water-soluble glucogalactan. This work aimed to investigate the effect of different extraction conditions of kefiran on the structural and physical properties of the edible films obtained. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy were performed, together with a determinations of moisture content, solubility, water vapor permeability and degree of swelling. The kefiran films presented values of the water vapor permeability between 0.93 and 4.38 × 10−11 g/m.s.Pa. These results can be attributed to the development of a more compact structure, where glycerol had no power to increase the free volume and the water vapor diffusion through their structure. The possible conformational changes in the kefiran film structure, due to the interspersing of the plasticizers and water molecules that they absorb, could be the reason for producing flexible kefiran films in the case of using glycerol as a plasticizer at 7.5% w/w. Moreover, it was observed that the extraction conditions are a significant factor in the properties of these films and their food technology applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Polymer Coatings and Films for Food and Health Applications)
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Article
Plasticized Starch/Agar Composite Films: Processing, Morphology, Structure, Mechanical Properties and Surface Hydrophilicity
Coatings 2021, 11(3), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11030311 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 845
Abstract
Natural biopolymers, which are renewable, widely available, biodegradable, and biocompatible, have attracted huge interest in the development of biocomposite materials. Herein, formulation–property relationships for starch/agar composite films were investigated. First, rapid visco analysis was used to confirm the conditions needed for their gelation [...] Read more.
Natural biopolymers, which are renewable, widely available, biodegradable, and biocompatible, have attracted huge interest in the development of biocomposite materials. Herein, formulation–property relationships for starch/agar composite films were investigated. First, rapid visco analysis was used to confirm the conditions needed for their gelation and to prepare filmogenic solutions. All the original crystalline and/or lamellar structures of starch and agar were destroyed, and films with cohesive and compact structures were formed, as shown by SEM, XRD, and SAXS. All the plasticized films were predominantly amorphous, and the polymorphs of the composite films were closer to that of the agar-only film. FTIR results suggest that the incorporation of agar restricted starch chain interaction and rearrangement. The addition of agar to starch increased both tensile strength and elongation at break, but the improvements were insignificant after the agar content was over 50 wt.%. Contact angle results indicate that compared with the other samples, the 4:6 (wt./wt.) starch/agar film was less hydrophilic. Thus, this work shows that agar dominates the structure and properties of starch/agar composites, and the best properties can be obtained with a certain starch/agar ratio. Such composite polysaccharide films with tailored mechanical properties and surface hydrophilicity could be useful in biodegradable packaging and biomedical applications (wound dressing and tissue scaffolding). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Polymer Coatings and Films for Food and Health Applications)
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Article
Development of Chitosan/Peptide Films: Physical, Antibacterial and Antioxidant Properties
Coatings 2020, 10(12), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10121193 - 06 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 806
Abstract
Chitosan/peptide films were prepared by incorporating peptides (0.4%, w/v) from soy, corn and caseins into chitosan films. The presence of peptides significantly affected the physical, antibacterial and antioxidative properties of chitosan films. Among these films, those containing corn peptide showed [...] Read more.
Chitosan/peptide films were prepared by incorporating peptides (0.4%, w/v) from soy, corn and caseins into chitosan films. The presence of peptides significantly affected the physical, antibacterial and antioxidative properties of chitosan films. Among these films, those containing corn peptide showed the best water vapor barrier properties, and the tensile strength and elongation at break increased to 24.80 Mpa and 23.94%, respectively. Characterization of surface hydrophobicity and thermal stability suggested the strongest intermolecular interactions between corn peptides and chitosan. Moreover, films containing casein peptides showed the highest antibacterial activity and radical scavenging activity. The DPPH scavenging rate of films containing casein peptides reached 46.11%, and ABTS scavenging rate reached 66.79%. These results indicate the chitosan/peptide films may be promising food packaging materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Polymer Coatings and Films for Food and Health Applications)
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Article
Encapsulation of Grapefruit Essential Oil in Emulsion-Based Edible Film Prepared by Plum (Pruni Domesticae Semen) Seed Protein Isolate and Gum Acacia Conjugates
Coatings 2020, 10(8), 784; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10080784 - 12 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1360
Abstract
A dry-heated Maillard reaction was used to prepare plum seed protein isolate and gum acacia conjugates. Emulsion-based edible films (EBEF) were prepared by the encapsulation of grapefruit essential oil using conjugates solution as the continuous phase. The conjugates formed from 3 days of [...] Read more.
A dry-heated Maillard reaction was used to prepare plum seed protein isolate and gum acacia conjugates. Emulsion-based edible films (EBEF) were prepared by the encapsulation of grapefruit essential oil using conjugates solution as the continuous phase. The conjugates formed from 3 days of dry heating showed a significant improvement in emulsifying properties due to the unfolding of protein, as confirmed by structure analysis. The droplet size, electrical charge, and viscosity of emulsions increased with the increasing essential oil concentration, and all emulsions exhibited ‘gel’-like behavior. The water vapor barrier property, surface hydrophobicity, mechanical properties, and thermal stability of the films were improved as the essential oil content increased in the range of 1–4% due to enhancement in intermolecular interaction and compatibility, as well as a denser microstructure. Furthermore, all films exhibited an inhibitory effect against E. coli, while their radical scavenging activity depended on the release rate from films. The results obtained in this work confirmed that EBEF could be used as a novel food active packaging in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Polymer Coatings and Films for Food and Health Applications)
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Review

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Review
Green Coating Polymers in Meat Preservation
Coatings 2021, 11(11), 1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11111379 - 10 Nov 2021
Viewed by 532
Abstract
Edible coatings, including green polymers are used frequently in the food industry to improve and preserve the quality of foods. Green polymers are defined as biodegradable polymers from biomass resources or synthetic routes and microbial origin that are formed by mono- or multilayer [...] Read more.
Edible coatings, including green polymers are used frequently in the food industry to improve and preserve the quality of foods. Green polymers are defined as biodegradable polymers from biomass resources or synthetic routes and microbial origin that are formed by mono- or multilayer structures. They are used to improve the technological properties without compromising the food quality, even with the purpose of inhibiting lipid oxidation or reducing metmyoglobin formation in fresh meat, thereby contributing to the final sensory attributes of the food and meat products. Green polymers can also serve as nutrient-delivery carriers in meat and meat products. This review focuses on various types of bio-based biodegradable polymers and their preparation techniques and applications in meat preservation as a part of active and smart packaging. It also outlines the impact of biodegradable polymer films or coatings reinforced with fillers, either natural or synthesized, via the green route in enhancing the physicochemical, mechanical, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties for extending shelf-life. The interaction of the package with meat contact surfaces and the advanced polymer composite sensors for meat toxicity detection are further considered and discussed. In addition, this review addresses the research gaps and challenges of the current packaging systems, including coatings where green polymers are used. Coatings from renewable resources are seen as an emerging technology that is worthy of further investigation toward sustainable packaging of food and meat products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Polymer Coatings and Films for Food and Health Applications)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Planned Paper 1

Title: "Application of vegetable oils on developing active paper-based food packaging"

Authors: Anamaria Irimia,* Mihai Brebu,* Ghiocel Emil Ioanid, Traian Zaharescu, Cornelia Vasile

Abstract: A major disadvantage of conventional food packaging materials is the difficulty in disposal and recycling, due to their provenience from fossil resources. The trend now is to develop new eco-friendly food packaging that can substitute the fossil fuel-derived materials. Cellulose, the main constituent of paper-based food packages, is a favorable starting material for developing such purpose. This study intends to obtain antioxidant and antimicrobial paper based materials suitable for food packaging applications. Kraft paper was activated by cold plasma or gamma irradiation then impregnated with alcoholic solutions of clove essential oil or rosehip seeds vegetal oil. Essential clove oil imprinted higher antioxidant activity, while cold pressed rosehip seeds oil acts better as an antimicrobial agent. The new obtained bioactive paper showed promising results for use as effective packaging material that can help control foodborne pathogens in aliments, thus extending their shelf-life.
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