Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2006
Publication Date: 1/1/2007
Citation: Dogan, N., Mc Hugh, T.H. Effects of Microcrystalline Cellulose on Functional Properties of Hydroxy Propyl Methyl Cellulose Microcomposite Films. Journal of Food Science. January/February 2007. 72:(1)E16-E22. Interpretive Summary: Edible films can be used to increase to storage stability of foods and improve their quality. In this study we added a food ingredient called micro crystalline cellulose (MCC) to some standard edible films to find out how the film properties would change. The base films that we tested were made from a food grade ingredient called hydroxy propyl methylcellulose (HPMC). Different sizes of MCC were added to the HPMC films. We found that the strength of the film increased greatly when very small sized MCC (500 nm) was added to the films. The strength only improved slightly when larger sized MCC (3 um) was added. This information is important to produce films that can be used on commercial food manufacturing equipment.
Technical Abstract: Edible films and coatings in foods can be used to increase shelf-life and improve organoleptic characteristics of foods by avoiding deterioration of food components and therefore promoting preservation of the final product. This study is the first to investigate the use of different size fillers for the purpose of preparing edible composite films with fillers less than 1.0 u in size. For this purpose, water vapor permeability and mechanical properties of HPMC (Hydroxy Propyl Methyl Cellulose) based films with the inclusion of different size MCC (Micro Crystalline Cellulose) fillers were studied. The water vapor permeability of the control HPMC film was 1.2 +/- 0.2 g-mm/kPa-h-m2 and did not show a significant change with the addition of fillers. A comparison of mechanical properties of the films with a tensile test showed that tensile strength of the control film, which was prepared using a 3 wt % HPMC solution increased from 29.7 +/- 1.6 MPa to 70.1 +/- 7.9 MPa with the addition of 500 nm size particles, while it increased only to 37.4 +/- 5.5 MPa with the addition of 3 um size particles. Also important is that the elongation percentage of the control film did not decrease significantly with the addition of sub-micron size fillers to the HPMC films. This study showed that the increased surface area per weight of smaller size MCC fillers compared to their larger size counterparts was highly beneficial in terms of film mechanical property improvement.