Biodegradable Packaging Materials from Animal Processing Co-Products and Wastes: An Overview
Biodegradable polymers are non-toxic, environmentally friendly biopolymers with considerable mechanical and barrier properties that can be degraded in industrial or home composting conditions. These biopolymers can be generated from sustainable natural sources or from the agricultural and animal processing co-products and wastes. Animals processing co-products are low value, underutilized, non-meat components that are generally generated from meat processing or slaughterhouse such as hide, blood, some offal etc. These are often converted into low-value products such as animal feed or in some cases disposed of as waste. Collagen, gelatin, keratin, myofibrillar proteins, and chitosan are the major value-added biopolymers obtained from the processing of animal’s products. While these have many applications in food and pharmaceutical industries, a significant amount is underutilized and therefore hold potential for use in the generation of bioplastics. This review summarizes the research progress on the utilization of meat processing co-products to fabricate biodegradable polymers with the main focus on food industry applications. In addition, the factors affecting the application of biodegradable polymers in the packaging sector, their current industrial status, and regulations are also discussed.