Pectin-Based Films Loaded with Hydroponic Nopal Mucilages: Development and Physicochemical Characterization
Nopal is a potential source of mucilage that can be used in different food applications. One of its potential use is the development of films and coatings where it can act as a packaging material but also as a source of bioactive compounds. Therefore, this work aimed to develop and characterize pectin-based films loaded with mucilage extracted from two species of nopal, Copena F1 (Cop) and Villanueva (Vi). The obtained mucilages were denominated as materials without fibre (Copwtf and Viwtf) and with fibre (Copwf and Viwf), according to the fibre&rsquo;s size. Films were produced with pectin (2% w/v), mucilage (2.5% w/v) and glycerol (0.5% w/v) by the casting method. The addition of mucilages was shown to influence the visual appearance, optical properties and morphology of the films. The presence of mucilage also changed the moisture content, water contact angle and water vapour permeability of the films. The pectin-based films without mucilage presented the best mechanical properties. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy showed similar signals in terms of frequency and intensity, for all the films, not showing any chemical modification. Results show that the mucilage obtained from different nopal fractions can be used in pectin-based films foreseeing their use as films or coatings in food applications.