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Application of Protein-Based Films and Coatings for Food Packaging: A Review

As the IV generation of packaging, biopolymers, with the advantages of biodegradability, process ability, combination possibilities and no pollution to food, have become the leading food packaging materials. Biopolymers can be directly extracted from biomass, synthesized from bioderived monomers and produced directly by microorganisms which are all abundant and renewable. The raw materials used to produce biopolymers are low-cost, some even coming from agrion dustrial waste. This review summarized the advances in protein-based films and coatings for food packaging. The materials studied to develop protein-based packaging films and coatings can be divided into two classes: plant proteins and animal proteins. Parts of proteins are referred in this review, including plant proteins i.e., gluten, soy proteins and zein, and animal proteins i.e., casein, whey and gelatin. Films and coatings based on these proteins have excellent gas barrier properties and satisfactory mechanical properties. However, the hydrophilicity of proteins makes the protein-based films present poor water barrier characteristics. The application of plasticizers and the corresponding post-treatments can make the properties of the protein-based films and coatings improved. The addition of active compounds into protein-based films can effectively inhibit or delay the growth of microorganisms and the oxidation of lipids. The review also summarized the research about the storage requirements of various foods that can provide corresponding guidance for the preparation of food packaging materials. Numerous application examples of protein-based films and coatings in food packaging also confirm their important role in food packaging materials.

Publication date: 09/12/2019

Author: Hongbo Chen

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym11122039

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.