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Methods of Incorporating Plant-Derived Bioactive Compounds into Films Made with Agro-Based Polymers for Application as Food Packaging: A Brief Review

Plastic, usually derived from non-renewable sources, is among the most used materials in food packaging. Despite its barrier properties, plastic packaging has a recycling rate below the ideal and its accumulation in the environment leads to environmental issues. One of the solutions approached to minimize this impact is the development of food packaging materials made from polymers from renewable sources that, in addition to being biodegradable, can also be edible. Different biopolymers from agricultural renewable sources such as gelatin, whey protein, starch, chitosan, alginate and pectin, among other, have been analyzed for the development of biodegradable films. Moreover, these films can serve as vehicles for transporting bioactive compounds, extending their applicability as bioactive, edible, compostable and biodegradable films. Biopolymer films incorporated with plant-derived bioactive compounds have become an interesting area of research. The interaction between environment-friendly biopolymers and bioactive compounds improves functionality. In addition to interfering with thermal, mechanical and barrier properties of films, depending on the properties of the bioactive compounds, new characteristics are attributed to films, such as antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, color and innovative flavors. This review compiles information on agro-based biopolymers and plant-derived bioactive compounds used in the production of bioactive films. Particular emphasis has been given to the methods used for incorporating bioactive compounds from plant-derived into films and their influence on the functional properties of biopolymer films. Some limitations to be overcome for future advances are also briefly summarized. This review will benefit future prospects for exploring innovative methods of incorporating plant-derived bioactive compounds into films made from agricultural polymers.

Publication date: 28/10/2020

Author: Gislaine Ferreira Nogueira

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym12112518

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.