Micro- and Nano-Scale Polymer Composites for Food Applications

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 February 2022) | Viewed by 32638

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Food Science and Technology, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, 3-5 Calea Manastur Street, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Interests: nutrigenomics; metagenomics; metaproteomics; metabolomics; metatranscriptomics; understanding the molecular mechanisms of food compounds; molecular nutrition; personalised nutrition; personalised food; medical foods; aging and chronic disease; aging and NCDs; climate/environment, health, and improved nutrition; diet and cancer; dietary bioactive components; prebiotics fiber; nutrient-gene interactions; nutritional epidemiology; nutritional immunology and inflammation; obesity and microbiome; gut-brain axis; nutritional microbiology
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Guest Editor
Department of Food Science, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Interests: antimicrobial packaging; antimicrobial activity; edible films; biofilms; bioactive compounds
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The food industry is a broad area with multiple applications. Utilization of macro and/or nanoscale food-grade materials to functionalize a food product is a common practice. These types of materials can be used in a food package or edible packages for antimicrobials but their use is not limited to these applications. Advanced composites are also used to protect a specific biomolecule or living cells (enzymes, probiotics) inside the food and targeted delivery. All food types and beverages are suitable matrixes for these polymer composites that are designed to fulfill several characteristics as carriers, target/multistage delivery, foam formation, conjugates of biomolecules, gelling system and colloids formation, and so on. Food matrixes structures and their functional properties can be modulated using advanced food-grade polymer composites. All these potential food applications of polymers will be covered in this Special Issue, which welcomes the submission of both reviews and original research articles in this area.

Dr. Oana L. Pop
Prof. Dr. Ramona Suharoschi
Prof. Dr. Dan C. Vodnar
Guest Editors

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 3107 KiB  
Article
Development and Characterization of Chitosan and Porphyran Based Composite Edible Films Containing Ginger Essential Oil
by Ahmed Al-Harrasi, Saurabh Bhtaia, Mohammed Said Al-Azri, Hafiz A. Makeen, Mohammed Albratty, Hassan A. Alhazmi, Syam Mohan, Ajay Sharma and Tapan Behl
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1782; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091782 - 27 Apr 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2681 | Correction
Abstract
Recent research shows the growing interest in the development of composite edible films (EFs) by using multiple biopolymers for the substantial improvement in the shelf life and quality of food products, via preventing oxidation among other benefits. In the present work, EFs based [...] Read more.
Recent research shows the growing interest in the development of composite edible films (EFs) by using multiple biopolymers for the substantial improvement in the shelf life and quality of food products, via preventing oxidation among other benefits. In the present work, EFs based on chitosan (CS) and porphyran (POR) loaded with ginger essential oil (GEO) have been developed to study the effect of GEO, glycerol (Gly), and POR on the film structure as well as physical and antioxidant properties. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) results showed the level of crystallinity and electrostatic interactions between CS, POR, Gly, and GEO. It was found that electrostatic interactions between CS and POR and the incorporation of GEO substantially improved barrier, thermal, optical, and mechanical properties and reduced the moisture content, swelling index, and thickness values. The color values of the S5 film altered apparently with a shift towards yellowness. SEM micrographs of the composite CS-POR-GEO film (S5) showed improved morphological attributes such as more uniformity and homogeneous structure than other films (S1–S4). Results obtained from total phenolic content assay suggested the presence of high phenolic components (5.97 ± 0.01) mg of GAE/g in GEO. Further, findings obtained from antioxidant assays revealed that the addition of GEO and POR significantly increased the antioxidant effects of CS films. All these findings suggested that GEO loaded CS-POR based films showed better physical and chemical properties with a significant improvement in antioxidant potential and thus can be used as a potential packaging material in the food industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Scale Polymer Composites for Food Applications)
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17 pages, 1226 KiB  
Article
Chemical and Enzymatic Synthesis of Biobased Xylo-Oligosaccharides and Fermentable Sugars from Wheat Straw for Food Applications
by Gabriela Precup, Joachim Venus, Monika Heiermann, Roland Schneider, Ioana Delia Pop and Dan Cristian Vodnar
Polymers 2022, 14(7), 1336; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14071336 - 25 Mar 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3268
Abstract
Xylo-oligosaccharides are sugar oligomers with 2~7 xylose units considered non-digestible fibers that can be produced from biodegradable and low-cost biomass like wheat straw. An integrated approach consisting of hydrothermal pretreatment, alkaline treatment, enzymatic treatment and the combinations thereof was applied to overcome the [...] Read more.
Xylo-oligosaccharides are sugar oligomers with 2~7 xylose units considered non-digestible fibers that can be produced from biodegradable and low-cost biomass like wheat straw. An integrated approach consisting of hydrothermal pretreatment, alkaline treatment, enzymatic treatment and the combinations thereof was applied to overcome the recalcitrance structure of the wheat straw and allow selective fractioning into fermentable sugars and xylo-oligosaccharides. The hydrolysates and processed solids were chemically characterized by High-performance liquid chromatography and Ion chromatography, and the results were expressed as function of the severity factor and statistically interpreted. The concentration of fermentable sugars (glucose, xylose, arabinose) was the highest after the combination of alkaline and enzymatic treatment with xylanase (18 g/L sugars), while xylo-oligosaccharides (xylotriose and xylotetraose) were released in lower amounts (1.33 g/L) after the same treatment. Refining experiments were carried out to obtain a purified fraction by using anion and cation exchange chromatography. The polymer adsorber resin MN-502 showed efficient removal of salts, phenols and furan derivatives. However, the xylo-oligosaccharides yields were also slightly reduced. Although still requiring further optimization of the treatments to obtain higher purified oligomer yields, the results provide information on the production of xylo-oligosaccharides and fermentable sugars from wheat straw for potential use in food applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Scale Polymer Composites for Food Applications)
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15 pages, 1888 KiB  
Article
Advanced Composites Based on Sea Buckthorn Carotenoids for Mayonnaise Enrichment
by Diana Roman, Nina Nicoleta Condurache (Lazăr), Nicoleta Stănciuc, Doina Georgeta Andronoiu, Iuliana Aprodu, Elena Enachi, Vasilica Barbu, Gabriela Elena Bahrim, Silvius Stanciu and Gabriela Râpeanu
Polymers 2022, 14(3), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14030548 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2492
Abstract
This study aimed at the extraction and encapsulation of the carotenoids from sea buckthorn fruits and obtaining value-added mayonnaise. First, the carotenoids from sea buckthorn fruits were extracted using ultrasound-assisted extraction. Then, they were microencapsulated through complex coacervation and freeze-drying techniques using different [...] Read more.
This study aimed at the extraction and encapsulation of the carotenoids from sea buckthorn fruits and obtaining value-added mayonnaise. First, the carotenoids from sea buckthorn fruits were extracted using ultrasound-assisted extraction. Then, they were microencapsulated through complex coacervation and freeze-drying techniques using different wall material combinations. Two powders were obtained and analyzed in terms of encapsulation efficiency, total carotenoid content, antioxidant activity, stability of phytochemicals and color, morphological structure, and in vitro digestibility. All results pointed out that the carotenoid molecules were successfully encapsulated within the mixture of alginate, agar, and chitosan, with a 61.17 ± 0.89% encapsulation efficiency. To probe the functionality, the powder was added into mayonnaise in 2.5% and 5% amounts. The obtained mayonnaise samples were characterized in terms of phytochemical and antioxidant activity properties with their storage stability and texture, color, and sensory characteristics. A significant increase of total carotenoid content and antioxidant activity compared to the control sample was observed. The addition of powder also led to improved texture by increasing the firmness and adhesion. In addition, the sensory evaluation indicated an improved color and overall acceptability of the value-added mayonnaise. Thus, sea buckthorn extracts may be considered as valuable ingredients for the development of added-value food products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Scale Polymer Composites for Food Applications)
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12 pages, 4186 KiB  
Article
Design and Optimization of a Self-Assembling Complex Based on Microencapsulated Calcium Alginate and Glutathione (CAG) Using Response Surface Methodology
by Ricardo I. Castro, Luis Morales-Quintana, Nancy Alvarado, Luis Guzmán, Oscar Forero-Doria, Felipe Valenzuela-Riffo and V. Felipe Laurie
Polymers 2021, 13(13), 2080; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13132080 - 24 Jun 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2895
Abstract
The aim of this work was to characterize and optimize the formation of molecular complexes produced by the association of calcium alginate and reduced glutathione (GSH). The influence of varying concentrations of calcium and GSH on the production of microcapsules was analyzed using [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to characterize and optimize the formation of molecular complexes produced by the association of calcium alginate and reduced glutathione (GSH). The influence of varying concentrations of calcium and GSH on the production of microcapsules was analyzed using response surface methodology (RSM). The microcapsules were characterized by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA-DTG) and infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) in order to assess the hydration of the complexes, their thermal stability, and the presence of GSH within the complexes. The optimum conditions proposed by RSM to reach the maximum concentration of GSH within complexes were a 15% w/v of GSH and 1.25% w/v of CaCl2, with which a theorical concentration of 0.043 mg GSH per mg of CAG complex was reached. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Scale Polymer Composites for Food Applications)
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21 pages, 4360 KiB  
Article
Formulation and Characterization of Antimicrobial Edible Films Based on Whey Protein Isolate and Tarragon Essential Oil
by Maria-Ioana Socaciu, Melinda Fogarasi, Cristina Anamaria Semeniuc, Sonia Ancuţa Socaci, Mihaela Ancuţa Rotar, Vlad Mureşan, Oana Lelia Pop and Dan Cristian Vodnar
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1748; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081748 - 5 Aug 2020
Cited by 55 | Viewed by 4913
Abstract
The effects of heat treatment and the addition of tarragon essential oil on physical and mechanical properties of films prepared with 5% whey protein isolate (WPI) and 5% glycerol were investigated in this study. Heat treatment of the film-forming solution caused increases in [...] Read more.
The effects of heat treatment and the addition of tarragon essential oil on physical and mechanical properties of films prepared with 5% whey protein isolate (WPI) and 5% glycerol were investigated in this study. Heat treatment of the film-forming solution caused increases in thickness, moisture content, swelling degree, water vapor permeability (WVP), b*-value, ΔE*-value, transmittance values in the 200–300-nm region, transparency, and puncture resistance of the film, but decreases in water solubility, L*-value, a*-value, transmittance values in the 350–800-nm region, and puncture deformation. When incorporated with tarragon essential oil, heat-treated films have the potential to be used as antimicrobial food packaging. The addition of tarragon essential oil in film-forming solution caused increases in moisture content, solubility in water, WVP, a*-value, b*-value, ΔE*-value, and transparency of the film; decreases in transmittance values in the range of 600–800 nm; and variations in swelling degree, L*-value, transmittance values in the range of 300–550 nm, puncture resistance, and puncture deformation. Nevertheless, different tendencies were noticed in UNT (untreated) and HT (heat-treated) films with regards to transparency, light transmittance, puncture resistance, and puncture deformation. Based on these findings, HT films show improved physical and mechanical properties and, therefore, are more suitable for food-packaging applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Scale Polymer Composites for Food Applications)
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12 pages, 2885 KiB  
Article
Co-Microencapsulation of Anthocyanins from Cornelian Cherry Fruits and Lactic Acid Bacteria in Biopolymeric Matrices by Freeze-Drying: Evidences on Functional Properties and Applications in Food
by Iuliana Maria Enache, Aida Mihaela Vasile, Elena Enachi, Vasilica Barbu, Nicoleta Stănciuc and Camelia Vizireanu
Polymers 2020, 12(4), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12040906 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3537
Abstract
Cornus mas was used in this study as a rich source of health-promoting bioactives. The cornelian cherries were used to extract the polyphenols and anthocyanins. The chromatographic profile of the Cornus mas fruit extract revealed the presence of several anthocyanins, mainly delphinidin, cyanidin [...] Read more.
Cornus mas was used in this study as a rich source of health-promoting bioactives. The cornelian cherries were used to extract the polyphenols and anthocyanins. The chromatographic profile of the Cornus mas fruit extract revealed the presence of several anthocyanins, mainly delphinidin, cyanidin and pelargonidin glycosides. The extract was co-microencapsulated with Lactobacillus casei ssp. paracasei in a unique combination of whey protein isolates, inulin and chitosan by freeze-drying, with an encapsulation efficiency of 89.16 ± 1.23% for anthocyanins and 80.33 ± 0.44% for lactic acid bacteria. The pink-red colored powder showed a total anthocyanins content of 19.86 ± 1.18 mg cyanidin-3-glucoside/g dry weight (DW), yielding an antioxidant activity of 54.43 ± 0.73 mMol Trolox/g DW. The viable cells were 9.39 × 109 colony forming units (CFU)/g DW. The confocal microscopy analysis revealed the microencapsulated powder as a complex one, with several large formations containing smaller aggregates, consisting of the lactic acid bacteria cells, the cornelian cherries’ bioactive compounds and the biopolymers. The powder was tested for stability over 90 days, showing a decrease of 50% in anthocyanins and 37% in flavonoids content, with no significant changes in antioxidant activity and CFU. The powder showed a significant inhibitory effect against the α-amylase of 89.72 ± 1.35% and of 24.13 ± 0.01% for α-glucosidase. In vitro digestibility studies showed a significant release of anthocyanins in gastric juice, followed by a decrease in intestinal simulated conditions. The functional properties of the powder were tested by addition into a yogurt, highlighting a higher and more stable antioxidant activity at storage when compared to the control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Scale Polymer Composites for Food Applications)
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Review

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23 pages, 10370 KiB  
Review
Protein-Based Films and Coatings for Food Industry Applications
by Vlad Mihalca, Andreea Diana Kerezsi, Achim Weber, Carmen Gruber-Traub, Jürgen Schmucker, Dan Cristian Vodnar, Francisc Vasile Dulf, Sonia Ancuța Socaci, Anca Fărcaș, Carmen Ioana Mureșan, Ramona Suharoschi and Oana Lelia Pop
Polymers 2021, 13(5), 769; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13050769 - 2 Mar 2021
Cited by 74 | Viewed by 10567
Abstract
Food packaging is an area of interest not just for food producers or food marketing, but also for consumers who are more and more aware about the fact that food packaging has a great impact on food product quality and on the environment. [...] Read more.
Food packaging is an area of interest not just for food producers or food marketing, but also for consumers who are more and more aware about the fact that food packaging has a great impact on food product quality and on the environment. The most used materials for the packaging of food are plastic, glass, metal, and paper. Still, over time edible films have become widely used for a variety of different products and different food categories such as meat products, vegetables, or dairy products. For example, proteins are excellent materials used for obtaining edible or non-edible coatings and films. The scope of this review is to overview the literature on protein utilization in food packages and edible packages, their functionalization, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antifungal activities, and economic perspectives. Different vegetable (corn, soy, mung bean, pea, grass pea, wild and Pasankalla quinoa, bitter vetch) and animal (whey, casein, keratin, collagen, gelatin, surimi, egg white) protein sources are discussed. Mechanical properties, thickness, moisture content, water vapor permeability, sensorial properties, and suitability for the environment also have a significant impact on protein-based packages utilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Scale Polymer Composites for Food Applications)
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Other

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2 pages, 954 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Al-Harrasi et al. Development and Characterization of Chitosan and Porphyran Based Composite Edible Films Containing Ginger Essential Oil. Polymers 2022, 14, 1782
by Ahmed Al-Harrasi, Saurabh Bhtaia, Mohammed Said Al-Azri, Hafiz A. Makeen, Mohammed Albratty, Hassan A. Alhazmi, Syam Mohan, Ajay Sharma and Tapan Behl
Polymers 2022, 14(13), 2518; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14132518 - 21 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 939
Abstract
In the original publication [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Scale Polymer Composites for Food Applications)
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