Green Design of Novel Starch-Based Packaging Materials Sustaining Human and Environmental Health
A critical overview of current approaches to the development of starch-containing packaging, integrating the principles of green chemistry (GC), green technology (GT) and green nanotechnology (GN) with those of green packaging (GP) to produce materials important for both us and the planet is given. First, as a relationship between GP and GC, the benefits of natural bioactive compounds are analyzed and the state-of-the-art is updated in terms of the starch packaging incorporating green chemicals that normally help us to maintain health, are environmentally friendly and are obtained via GC. Newer approaches are identified, such as the incorporation of vitamins or minerals into films and coatings. Second, the relationship between GP and GT is assessed by analyzing the influence on starch films of green physical treatments such as UV, electron beam or gamma irradiation, and plasma; emerging research areas are proposed, such as the use of cold atmospheric plasma for the production of films. Thirdly, the approaches on how GN can be used successfully to improve the mechanical properties and bioactivity of packaging are summarized; current trends are identified, such as a green synthesis of bionanocomposites containing phytosynthesized metal nanoparticles. Last but not least, bioinspiration ideas for the design of the future green packaging containing starch are presented.