A review study published in the April 2011 issue of Journal of Food Science examined different biodegradable polymers derived from polysaccharides and protein-based materials combined with antimicrobial agents to assess their potential use in packaging designed to protect foods from microbial contamination.
The researchers discussed antimicrobial packaging systems with respect to food packaging with a focus on biodegradable films, particularly ones made with polysaccharides and protein-based materials; various types of films incorporated or coated with antimicrobial agents; and coating and immobilization of antimicrobial agents onto films prepared from biodegradable materials.
The researchers noted some challenges in developing these antimicrobial biodegradable polymers such as the more expensive cost of the biodegradable material and limits to the use of certain biodegradable films due to how the polymers affect physical and mechanical properties of the films. The physical and mechanical properties of the films could be improved by incorporating them with biodegradable polymers that have been modified or blended with other compatible materials made with or coated with antimicrobial agents, reported the researchers. They stressed that more research is needed to reduce the moisture sensitivity of these polymers by blending with appropriate materials or by copolymerization.
Journal of Food Science