Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 2009
Publication Date: February 3, 2010
Citation: Tomasula, P.M. 2010. Using dairy ingredients to produce edible films and biodegradable packaging materials. In: Corredig, M., Editor. Dairy-derived Ingredients: Food and Nutraceutical Users. Woodhead Publishing in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition. CRC Press; Woodhead Publishing. p. 589-624 Technical Abstract: Food packaging is comprised of multi-layers of films which are thin continuous sheets of synthetic polymers. Recently, major food retailers and consumers have become concerned about the waste that packaging generates and the scarce natural resources and energy used in its manufacture. They are demanding “green” packaging films that are biodegradable and compostable and are derived from renewable sources or are biobased. Manufacturers are beginning to replace petroleum-based packaging films with those derived from biobased materials such as polylactic acid (PLA). While these films are compostable, curbside collection of compostable materials by municipalities in the US is virtually nonexistent and the consumer must compost the packaging or bring it to a composting facility. Edible films and coatings made from food-grade proteins and carbohydrates are an untapped source of renewable material that while compostable and biodegradable can also be consumed with the food product. This chapter focuses on films made from dairy proteins with an emphasis on those based on casein and whey, the major proteins found in milk, and the research efforts that have been undertaken to improve their mechanical and barrier properties.