The future is now and tomorrow for food packaging technology—to buttress food preservation and delivery. Within the 2013 IFT Annual Meeting’s Scientific Program, active packaging is the packaging topic that will receive the greatest attention. Read on for a preview of some of the presentations that are scheduled.
Modified Atmosphere Preservation and Packaging
Developed more than 60 years ago, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) has grown into one of the largest-volume food technologies, but suffers from limited scientific bases. Among the more misunderstood elements is the need for reduced temperature for functionality. IFT’s Food Packaging Division has not yet organized a program beyond the empirical, but valuable applications information is scattered throughout this Annual Meeting, largely in poster sessions, which will take place in the Food Expo exhibit hall.
Christine Boisrobert of Air Liquide will present on the topic “The Effect of Packaging Gas and Chill Rate on the Quality Life of Chilled and Frozen Foods” in session 004-03, at 7:55 a.m. Sunday, July 14, in room S501cd. How appropriate that Boisrobert’s Bastille Day holiday is celebrated as she opens with a review of the essential interplay of internal environment and packaging.
In poster session 034-35 at noon Sunday, July 14, H. Gartner will discuss “The Effects of Packaging Gas Compositions and Materials on the Sensory Quality of Fresh-Cut Celery.” Modified atmosphere packaging of fresh-cut celery with polyester film coated with aluminum oxide and polylactic acid demonstrate that the latter package structure delivers up to two weeks of chilled shelf life.
M. Rangel-Marron will present on “Alginate-Based Edible Coating and Modified Atmosphere Packaging to Extend Shelf Life of Fresh-Cut Mango” in poster session 035-33 at noon Sunday, July 14. In this research project, the alginate-containing glycerol film coupled with MAP to inhibit growth of mold on fresh-cut mangoes.
The topic for poster session 035-17 at noon Sunday, July 14, is “Shelf Life Extension of Fresh Sweet Cherries Using a Microperforated Biodegradable Packaging System.” E. Almenar will be reporting on the use of MAP to extend chilled shelf life of sweet cherries.
“Impacts of Modified Atmosphere Packaging on Bioactives of Organic Chinese Red Raspberry Fruit During Postharvest Refrigerated Storage” is the topic for poster session 217-02 at 2:30 p.m. Monday, July 15. The packaging that will be under discussion by presenter W. Lu is vented half-pint trays overwrapped in plastic films with differing gas permeabilities.
Incorporating active antimicrobial materials into food packaging has offered the promise of extending shelf life, but has been limited by adverse secondary effects, legal questions, costs, and actual effectiveness. While industry research has been scant, most information on this topic has come from universities—especially offshore. The 2013 presentations are largely poster sessions dealing with updates on natural chemicals (e.g., essential oils). Somewhat new this year is the marriage of bio-based package materials with antimicrobials.
In poster session 34-01 at noon on Sunday, July 14, R. Avena-Bustillos will discuss “Antibacterial Activity and Physical Properties of Açai Edible Films with Thyme Essential Oil and Apple Skin Polyphenol.” The açai berry has excellent antioxidant properties due to its anthocyanin content. By combining edible açai film with thyme and apple skin polyphenol, the researchers enhanced antimicrobial activity.
The topic for S. Hong in session 034-07 at noon Sunday, July 14, is “Preparation and Characterization of Antimicrobial Agar/Silver Nanoparticles Composite Films.” In this research project, silver nanoparticles up to 1% by weight in an agar matrix were cast to produce films with microbicidal properties, particularly against Listeria and E.coli O157:H7 organisms.
Poster session 34-08 at noon on Sunday, July 14, will focus on research by S. Kwon; the presentation is titled “Development of an Antimicrobial Packaging Material Using a Microencapsulated Essential Oil with Polyvinyl Alcohol.” Vapor generated from 18 microencapsulated essential oils incorporated into polyvinyl alcohol film demonstrated antimicrobial activity on contaminated iceberg lettuce in this study.
In poster session 034-28 at noon on Sunday, July 14, R. Cruz will address the topic “The Impact of Chitosan Packaging Films on Physiochemical Properties of Refrigerated Salmon.” For this project, active packaging films were constructed of chitosan plus grape seed extract and carvacrol to extend quality retention of chilled salmon.
E. Almenar will discuss “Active Packaging of Cheese with Bioplastics Based on Wheat Proteins and Natural Antibiotics” at noon Sunday, July 14, in poster session 034-29. Wheat gluten was combined with cinnamaldehyde and natamycin to form a “natural” active package material to help control mold growth on cheese surfaces.
In poster session 260-02 at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16, C. Gurdian Curran will discuss “Development of an Antimicrobial Whey Protein Isolate Film with Oregano Essential Oils to Improve Shelf Life of Cheeses at Refrigerated Storage Conditions.”
In poster session 035-20 at noon on Sunday, July 14, the topic for G. Peretto will be “Increasing Strawberry Shelf Life with Carvacrol and Methyl Cinnamate Antimicrobial Vapors Released from Edible Films.” When methyl cinnamate was combined with carvacrol, surface mold was suppressed for up to three days under chilled conditions in this study.
“Development of Active and Nanotechnology-Based Intelligent Edible Packaging Systems: Physical-Chemical Characterization” will be the subject at noon Sunday, July 14, in poster session 034-30 by A. Vincente. For this study, natamycin was incorporated into edible polysaccharide films with and without hydrogels to inhibit migration of moisture, oxygen, and carbon dioxide in fresh-cut produce, cheese, fruit, and fish.
In poster session 034-33 at noon Sunday, July 14, J. Shin will discuss “Active Packaging: Surface Modification Using UV for Attachment of Natamycin to Polystyrene.” UV radiation was used to generate reactive functional groups to attach natamycin to the surface of polystyrene to control microorganisms.
In poster session 034-17 at noon Sunday, July 14, Z.T. Jin will share insights on “Antimicrobial Efficacy of Packaging Films and Direct Coatings against Listeria innocus on Deli Turkey Meat.” Antimicrobials such as chitosan and lauric polylactic acid and/or nisin on package materials were combined with steam flash pasteurization to achieve up to five log reduction in Listeria for ready-to-eat meats.
Bacteriophages were encapsulated and integrated with edible coatings to form specific antimicrobials to achieve two log reductions in target microorganisms including pathogens for a research project that will be discussed by E. Vonasek at noon Sunday, July 14, in poster session 034-32. It is titled “Integrating Bacteriophages and Active Packaging for Antimicrobial Coatings.”
At noon Sunday, July 14, in poster session 034-13, X. Sun will discuss “Incorporation of Gallic Acid Improves Antimicrobial Activity and Mechanical Properties of Chitosan Films.” These studies demonstrated that the antimicrobial activity of chitosan could be significantly increased by homogeneously dispersing up to 1.5% gallic acid; water vapor and oxygen permeability were also improved.