The Use of Edible Films Based on Sodium Alginate in Meat Product Packaging: An Eco-Friendly Alternative to Conventional Plastic Materials
The amount of plastics used globally today exceeds a million tonnes annually, with an alarming annual growth. The final result is that plastic packaging is thrown into the environment, and the problem of waste is increasing every year. A real alternative is the use bio-based polymer packaging materials. Research carried out in the laboratory context and products tested at the industrial level have confirmed the success of replacing plastic-based packaging with new, edible or completely biodegradable foils. Of the polysaccharides used to obtain edible materials, sodium alginate has the ability to form films with certain specific properties: resistance, gloss, flexibility, water solubility, low permeability to O2 and vapors, and tasteless or odorless. Initially used as coatings for perishable or cut fresh fruits and vegetables, these sodium alginate materials can be applied to a wide range of foods, especially in the meat industry. Used to cover meat products, sodium alginate films prevent mass loss and degradation of color and texture. The addition of essential oils prevents microbial contamination with Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes, or Botrytis cinerea. The obtained results promote the substitution of plastic packaging with natural materials based on biopolymers and, implicitly, of sodium alginate, with or without other natural additions. These natural materials have become the packaging of the future.
Publication date: 12/02/2020
Author: Gheorghita (Puscaselu)
Reference: doi: 10.3390/coatings10020166