Technological watch

Performance evaluation of biobased/biodegradable films for in-package thermal pasteurization

Abstract This study examined the feasibility of biobased/biodegradable films for in-package thermal pasteurization. Salmon in sauce and beet mixed mashed potato were vacuum packed in polylactic acid (PLA), and polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT)-based pouches (oxygen transmission rate (OTR): 330–619 cm3 m−2 day−1 and water vapor transmission rate: 38–49 g m−2 day−1), pasteurized targeting 6-log reduction of L. monocytogenes (P70°C7.5°C = 3 min), and stored at 4 °C for 10 days. The gas barrier properties of all films decreased significantly (P < 0.05) after processing, and some haziness developed in PLA films. Although the OTR increased, the microbial, physical, and chemical qualities were maintained at the end of storage. The lipid oxidation, based on TBARS, was within the acceptable limit in salmon in sauce. However, the vitamin C in mashed potato packed in biobased/biodegradable films demonstrated losses 2–3 times higher than in the control (polyethylene) film. Overall findings indicate that selected PLA and PBAT-based films are suitable for in-package pasteurization and can replace polyethylene for ≤10 days of shelf life at 4 °C.

Industrial significance Increasing consumer awareness about plastic waste disposal and demand for sustainable products has prompted food and polymer companies to develop sustainable solutions for food packaging. The use of biobased and biodegradable packaging could be one solution to address this challenge. However, current applications of biobased/biodegradable films are limited to fresh produce, meat, yogurt, some beverages, and dry products. Our findings extend the application of these films to in-package thermal pasteurization of high-moisture products, such as ready-to-eat meals.

Publication date: 28/12/2020

Author: Chandrashekhar R.Sonar; Saleh Al-Ghamdi; Martí-Ferrer, F. (AIMPLAS); Juming Tang; Shyam S.Sablani

Reference: Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies Volume 66, December 2020, 102485

Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies


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.