Edible protective films and coatings in food industry

Microorganisms contaminate foods causing food spoilage and poisoning. Therefore, inactivation or inhibition of undesirable microorganisms in food is important to assure safety of foods . Debeaufort and Voilley indicate that the qualities of food products are associated with their organoleptic, nutritional and microbiological properties which change during storage. Such changes are caused by interactions between foods and their surrounding environment or by migration between different components within composite food . Various methods can eliminate or reduce microorganisms on food products but many of these techniques cause chemical and physical changes of food products. Many studies have focused on the improvement of antimicrobial active systems through fusion of antimicrobial substances onto the food coatings . Bourtoom write that biocomposites have received significant attention in recent years by reason of their advantages over synthetic films . Janjarasskul and Krochta notice that it is the result of increasing demand for safe, high-quality foods with long shelf life and the awareness that biodegradable protective coatings help in reducing packaging waste . Film and coating are used to identify a material or composition that covers a food surface. However, according to Pavlath and Orts the difference between film and coating is that film is a stand-alone wrapping material, while a coating is created directly on food surface itself . As discussed by Sánchez-Ortega et al. edible films are produced from food grade filmogenic suspensions. Films may take the form of pouches, capsules, casings, wraps or bags. Akhtara et al. show that many edible films prevent moisture losses and quality changes, additionally described films help in control exchange of various gases which appearing in respiration processes. Such biocomposites also prevent loss of different quality components of food product and ensure surface resistance . Šuput et al. indicates that biodegradable polymers should be degraded by microorganisms in composting processes to produce natural breakdown compounds. Edible packaging can be carriers for flavourings, antimicrobial agents or antioxidants, etc. . The coating/film should also ensure sterility of the food surface, therefore antimicrobial biocomposites can be a promising method for providing food safety through preventing pathogens contamination by direct contact of the package with its surface. Successive release of antibacterial substance from the surface coating of the product for a longer period of time seems to be more important than the use of antimicrobial agents in food products. However, even if the coating possesses an antimicrobial effect, other qualities such as sensory properties may change, causing the product to be unacceptable to consumers.

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Edible protective films and coatings in food industry

Food Technologist, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland
*Corresponding Author:
Ewa Brychcy-Rajska
Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland
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