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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Food Quality Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344878

Research Project: Evaluation and Maintenance of Flavor, Nutritional and Other Quality Attributes of Fresh and Fresh-Cut Produce

Location: Food Quality Laboratory

Title: Advanced materials interfaces

item MEI, LEI - University Of Maryland
item TENG, ZI - University Of Maryland
item ZHU, GUIZHI - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item LIU, YIJING - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item ZHANG, FUWU - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item LI, YING - University Of Maryland
item GUAN, YONGGUANG - University Of Maryland
item Luo, Yaguang - Sunny
item CHEN, XIANGGUI - Xihua University
item WANG, QUI - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/19/2017
Publication Date: 10/20/2017
Citation: Mei, L., Teng, Z., Zhu, G., Liu, Y., Zhang, F., Li, Y., Guan, Y., Luo, Y., Chen, X., Wang, Q. 2017. Advanced materials interfaces. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 9(40):3529-3530.

Interpretive Summary: Microbial contamination reduces the shelf life of food products, increases the risk of foodborne illness, and causes huge economic losses to the food industry. Silver and silver-based compounds have been used as broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents for centuries. Novel silver entities called silver nanoparticles have been studied extensively for biomedical applications. However, their potential use as antimicrobial agents to improve food quality and safety has not been evaluated. In this study, we developed and evaluated food packaging material containing silver nanoclusters. Coatings made with these novel silver nanoclusters significantly improved antimicrobial effectiveness and had reduced toxicity to human cells compared to packaging prepared using conventional methods. These new antimicrobial coatings have direct benefit to the food industry and can be used in food packages to improve both food quality and safety.

Technical Abstract: Silver nanoclusters (AgNCs) are known for their ultra small size and unique optical and chemical properties. Despite extensive studies of AgNCs for biomedical applications, previous research on their use as antimicrobials for food applications is very limited. This research focused on incorporating AgNCs (~ 2 nm in diameter) into zein films that are widely used as food packaging materials. In addition, we systematically evaluated the antimicrobial activity and cytotoxicity of AgNCs-embedded zein films and compared them to zein films embedded with AgNO3 or Ag nanoparticles with diameters of 10 nm and 60 nm (AgNP10 and AgNP60, respectively). At equivalent silver concentrations, AgNCs and AgNO3 solutions exhibited considerably higher antimicrobial activities than those of AgNP10 and AgNP60 solutions. Moreover, AgNCs had less cytotoxicity to human cells than AgNO3, with a half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 34.68 g/mL for AgNCs, compared to 9.14 g/mL for AgNO3. Overall, the novel AgNCs coating developed in this research has great potential for antimicrobial applications in food packaging materials due to its high antimicrobial efficacy, ultra-small size and low cytotoxicity.