Special Issue "Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Ana Beltrán Sanahuja
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition & Food Sciences Dept., University of Alicante, 03690 Alicante, Spain
Interests: active food packaging; polymers characterization; analytical chemistry; food chemistry; food authentication, food waste reduction, polyphenols; volatile composition; antioxidant activity; oxidative stability of foods
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nowadays, the development of new food preservation solutions is essential to contribute to the global reduction of food waste. Food preservation technology improvements through the development of innovative food packaging materials that extend the shelf life of food constitute an alternative to traditional post-harvest practices, which are more aggressive, less sustainable, and have more risks to human health.

Consequently, research about innovative polymeric materials for food packaging is a promising challenge to the food industry to improve the quality and safety of food products.

This Special Issue on “Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging” is focused on original research and current review articles related to new food packaging materials.

This Special Issue primarily covers the following topics:

  • Nanocomposites;
  • Multifunctional materials;
  • Active packaging materials;
  • Intelligent packaging materials;
  • Biopolymers;
  • Biobased materials;
  • Biodegradable materials;
  • Edible films and coatings.

Innovative and original research articles or reviews are welcome for inclusion in this Special Issue of Polymers.

Dr. Ana Beltrán Sanahuja
Guest Editor

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. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2200 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

  • food packaging
  • active packaging
  • intelligent packaging materials
  • food shelf-life
  • biopolymers
  • multifunctional materials
  • polymer characterization
  • food waste reduction
  • edible films and coatings
  • nanocomposites

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Processing and Characterisation of Banana Leaf Fibre Reinforced Thermoplastic Cassava Starch Composites
Polymers 2021, 13(9), 1420; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13091420 - 28 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 438
Abstract
Increasing environmental concerns have led to greater attention to the development of biodegradable materials. The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of banana leaf fibre (BLF) on the thermal and mechanical properties of thermoplastic cassava starch (TPCS). The biocomposites were [...] Read more.
Increasing environmental concerns have led to greater attention to the development of biodegradable materials. The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of banana leaf fibre (BLF) on the thermal and mechanical properties of thermoplastic cassava starch (TPCS). The biocomposites were prepared by incorporating 10 to 50 wt.% BLF into the TPCS matrix. The samples were characterised for their thermal and mechanical properties. The results showed that there were significant increments in the tensile and flexural properties of the materials, with the highest strength and modulus values obtained at 40 wt.% BLF content. Thermogravimetric analysis showed that the addition of BLF had increased the thermal stability of the material, indicated by higher-onset decomposition temperature and ash content. Morphological studies through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) exhibited a homogenous distribution of fibres and matrix with good adhesion, which is crucial in improving the mechanical properties of biocomposites. This was also attributed to the strong interaction of intermolecular hydrogen bonds between TPCS and fibre, proven by the FT-IR test that observed the presence of O–H bonding in the biocomposite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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Article
Double-Function Oxygen Scavenger and Aromatic Food Packaging Films Based on LDPE/Polybutadiene and Peanut Aroma
Polymers 2021, 13(8), 1310; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13081310 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 625
Abstract
The aim of this study was to develop a double function active packaging material for nuts. The packaging solution, on the one hand, integrated polybutadiene (PB) as an oxygen scavenger and, on the other hand, it incorporated peanut aroma (PA) to improve customer’s [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to develop a double function active packaging material for nuts. The packaging solution, on the one hand, integrated polybutadiene (PB) as an oxygen scavenger and, on the other hand, it incorporated peanut aroma (PA) to improve customer’s sensorial experience. Different formulations based on low density polyethylene (LDPE), commercial PA (5 wt %) and PB at two levels (5 wt % and 13 wt %) were obtained by cast film extrusion. The obtained films were compared in terms of their mechanical, structural, optical and thermal properties confirming a plasticizing effect of PA and PB resulting in an increase in the ductility of the polymer and in a slight decrease in the thermal properties, maintaining their transparency. Regarding the oxygen capacity of the films, values of 4.4 mL and 2.7 mL O2 g−1 film were obtained for PE/PA/PB13 and PE/PA/PB5, respectively, after 6 days proving the suitability of the UV irradiation treatment in improving the oxygen absorption capacity of PB without the need of a metal catalyst. The aroma retention capacity into the polymer matrix was also evaluated in the developed formulations. The incorporation of PB in 13 wt % into a LDPE matrix improved the PA retention. This behavior was attributed to the ability of PB in enhancing cross-linking of LDPE as the concentration of PB increases. The results suggested the potential of PE/PB/PB13 films as oxygen scavenger and aromatic food packaging system to offer protection against lipid oxidation in nuts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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Article
bioORMOCER®—Compostable Functional Barrier Coatings for Food Packaging
Polymers 2021, 13(8), 1257; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13081257 - 13 Apr 2021
Viewed by 446
Abstract
Biodegradable packaging materials are already in use. However, there are severe restrictions preventing the broad application in food packaging, especially due to insufficient barrier properties. Our idea was to improve these properties with a biodegradable coating. The Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC has been [...] Read more.
Biodegradable packaging materials are already in use. However, there are severe restrictions preventing the broad application in food packaging, especially due to insufficient barrier properties. Our idea was to improve these properties with a biodegradable coating. The Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC has been developing high-barrier coatings for various packaging applications based on a class of materials with glass-like structural units, named ORMOCER®. However, these state-of-the-art ORMOCER® coatings are not biodegradable. The aim of our work was to modify ORMOCER® to become biodegradable and, at the same time, preserve the barrier and functional properties. This was achieved by the incorporation of functionalized tamarind hemicellulose Glyate® into the ORMOCER® matrix. For this purpose a two-step amination reaction of Glyate® was chosen. The aminated product was analyzed by FTIR, solid-state NMR and elemental analysis. New aminated Glyate® containing bioORMOCER® lacquers could be synthesized. Lacquer quality assessment was performed by Raman spectroscopy. The properties of the resulting coatings were evaluated by laser scanning microscopy (LSM), oxygen transmission rates (OTR) measurements, E-Module determination and adhesion tests. Standardized tests for compostability, overall migration and antimicrobial properties were performed for the bioORMOCER® coatings. The evaluation showed that the new bioORMOCER® coatings are suitable for sustainable food packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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Article
Biopolymer Composites as an Alternative to Materials for the Production of Ecological Packaging
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 592; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040592 - 16 Feb 2021
Viewed by 878
Abstract
The problem of plastic waste has long been a concern for governments and society. However, huge amounts of plastic are still being released into the oceans and the environment. One possible solution is to replace plastics with materials that are more both biodecomposable [...] Read more.
The problem of plastic waste has long been a concern for governments and society. However, huge amounts of plastic are still being released into the oceans and the environment. One possible solution is to replace plastics with materials that are more both biodecomposable and biodegradable. The most environmentally friendly materials are made of natural ingredients found in nature, although not all of them can be called biodegradable. In this study, we set out to create a new composite with functional properties that could replace commonly used disposable packaging. To ensure the competitiveness of our solution, we used inexpensive and readily available components, such as gelatin G HOOCCH2CH2C(R1)NHCOCH2NH2 (where R1 is a continuation of the peptide chain), polyvinyl alcohol PVA CH2CH(OH), and glycerin G HOCH2CH(CH2OH)O. The ingredients used in the research come from natural sources; however, they are chemically processed. Some of them, such as polyvinyl alcohol, for example, are biodegradable. With the appropriate selection of the components, in the casting process, the intermixed components made it possible to produce materials that were characterized by good physicochemical properties, including thermal stability, optical transmission of UV-Vis light, cross-linking density, and mechanical strength. The most favorable parameters of thermal stability were observed in casein-containing gelatine forms. The best cross-linking density was obtained in the case of gelatin–glycerine systems. Composite containing caseins distinguished by the highest resistance to flammability, increased thermal stability, flexibility, and greater hardness compared to other composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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Article
Corn Starch/Chitosan Nanoparticles/Thymol Bio-Nanocomposite Films for Potential Food Packaging Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(3), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13030390 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 721
Abstract
This work aims to develop corn starch/chitosan nanoparticles/thymol (CS/CNP/Thy) bio-nanocomposite films as potential food packaging materials that can enhance the shelf life of food. CS/CNP/Thy bio-nanocomposite films were prepared by the addition of different concentrations of thymol (0, 1.5, 3.0, 4.5 w/ [...] Read more.
This work aims to develop corn starch/chitosan nanoparticles/thymol (CS/CNP/Thy) bio-nanocomposite films as potential food packaging materials that can enhance the shelf life of food. CS/CNP/Thy bio-nanocomposite films were prepared by the addition of different concentrations of thymol (0, 1.5, 3.0, 4.5 w/w%) using a solvent casting method. The resulting films were characterized in terms of optical, mechanical, and water vapor permeability (WVP) properties. The addition of thymol was found to reduce the tensile strength (TS), elongation at break (EAB), and Young’s modulus (YM) of the films. Generally, the increment in the concentration of thymol did not significantly affect the TS, EAB, and YM values. The addition of 1.5 w/w% thymol increased the WVP of the films but the WVP reduced with the increase in thymol concentrations. CS/CNP/Thy-3% bio-nanocomposite films demonstrated the potential to lengthen the shelf life of cherry tomatoes packed with the films, whereby the cherry tomatoes exhibited no significant changes in firmness and the lowest weight loss. In addition, no mold growth was observed on the sliced cherry tomatoes that were in direct contact with the films during 7 days of storage, proving the promising application of the films as active food packaging materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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Article
Localized Quantitative Analysis of Polymeric Films through Laser Ablation–Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
Polymers 2021, 13(3), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13030345 - 22 Jan 2021
Viewed by 376
Abstract
The present work shows, for the first time, the application of laser ablation connected to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to the localized quantitative analysis of inclusions in polymeric industrial films. The multielemental mapping capabilities of LA-ICP-MS has allowed to chemically examine [...] Read more.
The present work shows, for the first time, the application of laser ablation connected to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to the localized quantitative analysis of inclusions in polymeric industrial films. The multielemental mapping capabilities of LA-ICP-MS has allowed to chemically examine unique defects appeared during the plastic processing. This analytical tool is perfectly suited to detect elements such as Al, Mg, Zr, Ti, Cr, P, Pb, Sb, Zn, and Si in those inclusions. A method for multielemental quantitative analysis of these defects has been developed in the present work. The profiling for more than 100 different defects in three samples has demonstrated that more than 50% of these inclusions contain aggregates of some of the aforementioned elements. Therefore, the distribution of elements used as additives or present in catalysts must be carefully controlled during the production of polymeric films in order to avoid degradation in their performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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Article
Melt-Processed Bioactive EVOH Films Incorporated with Ferulic Acid
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010068 - 26 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 778
Abstract
In this work, antimicrobial and antioxidant films based on ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) copolymer containing low amounts of ferulic acid (FA) were successfully developed by melt extrusion. Optically transparent films were obtained, and the presence of FA provided some UV blocking effect. The [...] Read more.
In this work, antimicrobial and antioxidant films based on ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) copolymer containing low amounts of ferulic acid (FA) were successfully developed by melt extrusion. Optically transparent films were obtained, and the presence of FA provided some UV blocking effect. The characterization of the thermal and barrier properties of the developed films showed that the addition of FA improved the thermal stability, decreased the glass transition temperature (Tg) and increased the water vapor and oxygen transmission rates when ferulic acid was loaded above 0.5 wt.%, associated with its plasticizing effect. Mechanical characterization confirmed the plasticizing effect by an increase in the elongation at break values while no significant differences were observed in Young’s modulus and tensile strength. Significant antioxidant activity of all active films exposed to two food simulants, 10% ethanol and 95% ethanol, was also confirmed using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-pricylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging method, indicating that FA conserved its well-known antioxidant properties after melt-processing. Finally, EVOH-FA samples presented antibacterial activity in vitro against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, thus showing the potential of ferulic acid as bioactive compound to be used in extrusion processing for active packaging applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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Article
Identification and Quantitation Studies of Migrants from BPA Alternative Food-Contact Metal Can Coatings
Polymers 2020, 12(12), 2846; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12122846 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 668
Abstract
Bisphenol A (BPA)-based epoxy resins have wide applications as food-contact materials such as metal can coatings. However, negative consumer perceptions toward BPA have driven the food packaging industry to develop other alternatives. In this study, four different metal cans and their lids manufactured [...] Read more.
Bisphenol A (BPA)-based epoxy resins have wide applications as food-contact materials such as metal can coatings. However, negative consumer perceptions toward BPA have driven the food packaging industry to develop other alternatives. In this study, four different metal cans and their lids manufactured with different BPA-replacement food-contact coatings are subjected to migration testing in order to identify migratory chemical species from the coatings. Migration tests are conducted using food simulants and conditions of use corresponding to the intended applications and regulatory guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Extracts are analyzed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high resolution GC-MS. The migratory compounds identified include short chain cyclic polyester migrants from polyester-based coatings and bisphenol-type migrants including tetramethyl bisphenol F (TMBPF), tetramethyl bisphenol F diglycidyl ether (TMBPF DGE), bisphenol F (BPF), bisphenol C (BPC), and other related monomers or oligomers. The concentration of the migrants is estimated using an internal standard, and validated trimethylsilyl (TMS) derivatization GC-MS methods are developed to specifically quantify TMBPF, BPF, BPC, and BPA in the coatings. The results will aid the safety evaluation of new food-contact material coating technology based on TMBPF chemistry and will provide an important reference for the industry in identifying and quantifying non-BPA coating-borne migrants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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Article
Influence of the Ultrasonic Treatment on the Properties of Polybutylene Adipate Terephthalate, Modified by Antimicrobial Additive
Polymers 2020, 12(10), 2412; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102412 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 632
Abstract
Particular attention is paid to biodegradable materials from the environmental point of view and antimicrobial materials that ensure the microbiological safety of packaged products. The aim of the work was to study the properties of the composition, based on biodegradable polybutylene adipate terephthalate [...] Read more.
Particular attention is paid to biodegradable materials from the environmental point of view and antimicrobial materials that ensure the microbiological safety of packaged products. The aim of the work was to study the properties of the composition, based on biodegradable polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) and the antimicrobial additive—birch bark extract (BBE). Test samples of materials were obtained on the laboratory extruder by extrusion with ultrasonic treatment of the melt. The concentration of the antimicrobial additive in the polymer matrix was 1 wt %. A complex research was carried out to study the structural, physico–mechanical characteristics, antimicrobial properties and biodegradability of the modified PBAT. Comparative assessment of the physico–mechanical characteristics of samples based on PBAT showed that the strength and elongation at break indices slightly decrease when the ultrasonic treatment of the melt is introduced. It was found out, that the antimicrobial additive in the composition of the polymer matrix at the concentration of 1 wt % has a static effect on the development of microorganisms on the surface of the studied modified films. Studies of the biodegradability of modified PBAT by composting for 4 months have shown that the decomposition period of modified materials increased, compared to pure PBAT. The developed modified polymer material can be recommended as an alternative replacement for materials based on polyethylene for food packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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Review

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Review
New Trends in the Use of Volatile Compounds in Food Packaging
Polymers 2021, 13(7), 1053; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13071053 - 27 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 670
Abstract
In the last years, many of the research studies in the packaging industry have been focused on food active packaging in order to develop new materials capable of retaining the active agent in the polymeric matrix and controlling its release into food, which [...] Read more.
In the last years, many of the research studies in the packaging industry have been focused on food active packaging in order to develop new materials capable of retaining the active agent in the polymeric matrix and controlling its release into food, which is not easy in many cases due to the high volatility of the chemical compounds, as well as their ease of diffusion within polymeric matrices. This review presents a complete revision of the studies that have been carried out on the incorporation of volatile compounds to food packaging applications. We provide an overview of the type of volatile compounds used in active food packaging and the most recent trends in the strategies used to incorporate them into different polymeric matrices. Moreover, a thorough discussion regarding the main factors affecting the retention capacity and controlled release of volatile compounds from active food packaging is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Food Packaging)
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