Starch–Mucilage Composite Films: An Inclusive on Physicochemical and Biological Perspective
In recent years, scientists have focused on research to replace petroleum-based components plastics, in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner, with plant-derived biopolymers offering suitable mechanical properties. Moreover, due to high environmental pollution, global warming, and the foreseen shortage of oil supplies, the quest for the formulation of biobased, non-toxic, biocompatible, and biodegradable polymer films is still emerging. Several biopolymers from varied natural resources such as starch, cellulose, gums, agar, milk, cereal, and legume proteins have been used as eco-friendly packaging materials for the substitute of non-biodegradable petroleum-based plastic-based packaging materials. Among all biopolymers, starch is an edible carbohydrate complex, composed of a linear polymer, amylose, and amylopectin. They have usually been considered as a favorite choice of material for food packaging applications due to their excellent forming ability, low cost, and environmental compatibility. Although the film prepared from bio-polymer materials improves the shelf life of commodities by protecting them against interior and exterior factors, suitable barrier properties are impossible to attain with single polymeric packaging material. Therefore, the properties of edible films can be modified based on the hydrophobic–hydrophilic qualities of biomolecules. Certain chemical modifications of starch have been performed; however, the chemical residues may impart toxicity in the food commodity. Therefore, in such cases, several plant-derived polymeric combinations could be used as an effective binary blend of the polymer to improve the mechanical and barrier properties of packaging film. Recently, scientists have shown their great interest in underutilized plant-derived mucilage to synthesize biodegradable packaging material with desirable properties. Mucilage has a great potential to produce a stable polymeric network that confines starch granules that delay the release of amylose, improving the mechanical property of films. Therefore, the proposed review article is emphasized on the utilization of a blend of source and plant-derived mucilage for the synthesis of biodegradable packaging film. Herein, the synthesis process, characterization, mechanical properties, functional properties, and application of starch and mucilage-based film are discussed in detail.