Antimicrobial Composite for Active Food Packaging

Inhibition zones of PE/20CD-lim: Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 (A); Candida albicans ATCC 10231 (B); Pseudomonas aureuginosa ATCC 27853 (C).
Inhibition zones of PE/20CD-lim: Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 (A); Candida albicans ATCC 10231 (B); Pseudomonas aureuginosa ATCC 27853 (C).

The quest for innovative and sustainable materials continues, and a groundbreaking solution emerges—Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (PE) infused with a dynamic inclusion complex of β-cyclodextrin and d-limonene (CD-lim). This novel composite not only showcases promising mechanical properties but also introduces a powerful antimicrobial feature.

The formulation of PE/CD-lim composites involves a conventional, high-volume processing method, ensuring scalability for practical food packaging applications. The optical and mechanical properties of these composites demonstrate a seamless integration into the realm of food packaging materials.

Optical and Mechanical Advancements

Compared to conventional PE, the PE/CD-lim films exhibit improved haze and UV–visible outcomes. However, it’s important to note a reduction in gloss values. This trade-off ensures that the composite maintains its transparency to visible light while offering enhanced UV light barrier properties—an invaluable trait for packaging items sensitive to ultraviolet exposure, such as those containing fatty acids.

Slight increases in water uptake, well within acceptable levels for food packaging, are observed with the addition of CD-lim. This feature not only aligns with the intended application but also contributes to optimizing PE performance as a food packaging material.

Antimicrobial Composite Shield

The true innovation lies in the PE/CD-lim composite’s remarkable antimicrobial properties. Extending protection against a broad spectrum of microorganisms, including fungi and bacteria, this composite stands out as an active food packaging film. Beyond conventional packaging, it adds an extra layer of defense, crucial for enhancing the shelf life of food items vulnerable to microbial contamination.

As the journey towards sustainable and efficient food packaging unfolds, PE/CD-lim composites emerge as a beacon of promise. Bridging the gap between mechanical integrity, optical enhancements, and antimicrobial efficacy, these composites pave the way for a new era in active food packaging films. The synergy of PE and CD-lim not only addresses current challenges but propels the industry towards a future where packaging actively contributes to the preservation and safety of our food supply.

You can learn more about this topic in the article Linear low-density polyethylene modified with D-limonene/β-cyclodextrin inclusion complex: Antimicrobial composite for active food packaging” by Monika Dobrzynska-Mizera, Monika Knitter, Marlena Piss, Daria Szymanowska, Salvatore Mallardo, Gabriella Santagata and Maria Laura Di Lorenzo, published in the January 2024 issue of Polymer Engineering & Science and chosen as the January 2024 Editor’s Choice article.

By Plastics Engineering | January 24, 2024

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