Technological watch

Development of Active Barrier Multilayer Films Based on Electrospun Antimicrobial Hot-Tack Food Waste Derived Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) and Cellulose Nanocrystal Interlayers

Active multilayer films based on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) with and without high barrier coatings of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) were herein successfully developed. To this end, an electrospun antimicrobial hot-tack layer made of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) derived from cheese whey, a by-product from the dairy industry, was deposited on a previously manufactured blown film of commercial food contact PHA-based resin. A hybrid combination of oregano essential oil (OEO) and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) were incorporated during the electrospinning process into the PHBV nanofibers at 2.5 and 2.25 wt%, respectively, in order to provide antimicrobial properties. A barrier CNC coating was also applied by casting from an aqueous solution of nanocellulose at 2 wt% using a rod at 1m/min. The whole multilayer structure was thereafter assembled in a pilot roll-to-roll laminating system, where the blown PHA-based film was located as the outer layers while the electrospun antimicrobial hot-tack PHBV layer and the barrier CNC coating were placed as interlayers. The resultant multilayer films, having a final thickness in the 130–150 µm range, were characterized to ascertain their potential in biodegradable food packaging. The multilayers showed contact transparency, interlayer adhesion, improved barrier to water and limonene vapors, and intermediate mechanical performance. Moreover, the films presented high antimicrobial and antioxidant activities in both open and closed systems for up to 15 days. Finally, the food safety of the multilayers was assessed by migration and cytotoxicity tests, demonstrating that the films are safe to use in both alcoholic and acid food simulants and they are also not cytotoxic for Caco-2 cells.

Publication date: 27/11/2020

Author: Kelly J. Figueroa-Lopez

Reference: doi: 10.3390/nano10122356

MDPI (nanomaterials)


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.