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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #375796

Research Project: Increasing the Value of Cottonseed

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Design and evaluation of agro-based food packaging films

item Cheng, Huai
item Biswas, Atanu
item ALVES, CARLUCIO - State University Of Ceará
item WU, QINGLIN - LSU Agcenter

Submitted to: ACS Symposium Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/2020
Publication Date: 12/2/2020
Citation: Cheng, H.N., Biswas, A., Furtado, R.F., Alves, C.R., Wu, Q. 2020. Design and evaluation of agro-based food packaging films. In: Cheng, H.N., Gross, R.A., editors. Sustainability & Green Polymer Chemistry Volume 2: Biocatalysis and Biobased Polymers. ACS Symposium Series, Vol. 1373. Washington, DC:American Chemical Society. 1373:193-204.

Interpretive Summary: Appropriate packaging is necessary to handle food items, promote hygiene, and increase shelf lives of the food. Currently, most of food packaging materials are made from synthetic polymers or paper. In order to decrease plastic and paper waste and reduce the use of petroleum-based feedstocks, a lot of research and development (R&D) is ongoing to utilize agro-based materials in food packaging. It is pertinent to summarize the work done in this area by the authors and their collaborators in order to consolidate the information gathered thus far. As we survey the publications involving the authors from USDA, five approaches can be discerned (polymer blending, composite formation, incorporation of essential oils, surface modification, and use of nanotechnology). Quite a wide range of agro-based materials has been used, and combinations and variations of these approaches will be possible in the future. This review may be useful to future R&D scientists working in this field or to people interested in the applications of agro-based materials.

Technical Abstract: There is current interest in using agro-based materials to produce food packaging that can increase the shelf lives of food items, minimize food spoilage, and reduce plastic waste. We have been conducting research in the this area and have adopted several approaches in designing new packaging films: 1) Polymer blending in order to optimize the properties of the resulting films, with the advantage that no chemical synthesis is needed and the regulatory hurdle in product development is lower. 2) Incorporation of essential oils as antimicrobial component in films. 3) Modification of film surfaces to render them less hydrophilic. 4) Design of composites involving biobased materials and synthetic polymers to form semi-synthetic films. 5) Incorporation of nanomaterials to strengthen the film. Because the agro-based materials are structurally diverse, combinations and variations are possible, and these approaches offer many opportunities for customization and optimization. Examples of these approaches from the authors’ work will be shown as illustrations in this review.