Biodegradable Active Packaging as an Alternative to Conventional Packaging: A Case Study with Chicken Fillets
Innovative active packaging has the potential to maintain the food quality and preserve the food safety for extended period. The aim of this study was to discover the effect of active films based on commercially available polylactic acid blend (PLAb) and natural active components on the shelf life and organoleptic properties of chicken fillets and to find out; to what extent they can be used as replacement to the traditional packaging materials. In this study, commercially available PLAb was compounded with citral and cinnamon oil. Active films with 300 µm thickness were then produced on a blown film extruder. The PLAb-based films were thermoformed into trays. Fresh chicken breast fillets were packed under two different gas compositions, modified atmosphere packaging of 60% CO2/40% N2, and 75% O2/25% CO2 and stored at 4 ?. The effect of active packaging materials and gas compositions on the drip loss, dry matter content, organoleptic properties, and microbial quality of the chicken fillets were studied over a storage time of 24 days. The presence of active components in the compounded films was confirmed with FTIR, in addition the release of active components in the headspace of the packaging was established with GC/MS. Additionally, gas barrier properties of the packages were studied. No negative impact on the drip loss and dry matter content was observed. The results show that PLAb-based active packaging can maintain the quality of the chicken fillets and have the potential to replace the traditional packaging materials, such as APET/PE trays.