Application of Vegetal Oils in Developing Bioactive Paper-Based Materials for Food Packaging
A major disadvantage of conventional food packaging materials is the difficulty in disposal and recycling, due to their high stability to environmental and thermal stress. The trend now is to develop new eco-friendly food packaging that can substitute fossil fuel derived materials. Cellulose, the main constituent of paper-based food packages, is a favorable starting material for such purpose. In this study we present a new method to obtain bioactive paper based materials suitable for food packaging applications. By combining eco-friendly activation processes (cold plasma or gamma irradiation) and bioactive plant oils (clove essential oil and rosehip seeds vegetal oil) for modification of kraft paper, new materials with antioxidant and antibacterial activity were obtained. The oil-loaded bioactive paper based materials presented increased hydrophobicity (from 97° in the case of kraft paper to 115° for oil-loaded sample) and decreased water adsorption (a one-quarter decrease). Due to differential interactions with the functional groups of plant oils, the modified kraft paper presents different antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Essential clove oil imprinted higher antioxidant activity (owing to the high content in eugenol and eugenol acetate phenolic compounds and were more efficient in reducing the bacterial growth on fresh beef meat and especially on fresh curd cheese. The cold pressed rosehip seeds oil acted as aslightly better antibacterial agent against Listeria monocytogenes (+), Salmonella enteritidis (-) and Escherichia coli (-) bacterial strains. Thus, the newly developed bioactive paper could be used as effective packaging material that can help preserving food quality for longer time.