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Starch/Polyaniline Biopolymer Film as Potential Intelligent Food Packaging with Colourimetric Ammonia Sensor

The use of petroleum-based plastics in food packaging leads to various environmental impacts, while spoilage of food and misinterpretation of food-date labelling account for food insecurity; therefore, a biopolymer capable of indicating food edibility is prepared to resolve these issues. In this research, starch/polyaniline (starch/PANI) biopolymer film was synthesised and investigated as an ammonia sensor for potential application as intelligent food packaging. FT-IR and XRD were used to confirm the composition of the biopolymer films, while UV-Vis spectrometry was applied to identify the oxidation state of PANI in emeraldine form. PANI was successfully incorporated into the starch matrix, leading to better thermal stability (TGA) but decreasing the crystallinity of the matrix (DSC). The performance of the polymer-film sensor was determined through ammonia-vapour sensitivity analysis. An obvious colour change from green to blue of starch/PANI films was observed upon exposure to the ammonia vapour. Starch/PANI 0.4% is the optimum composition, having the best sensor performance with good linearity (R2 = 0.9459) and precision (RSD = 8.72%), and exhibiting excellent LOD (245 ppm). Furthermore, the starch/PANI films are only selective to ammonia. Therefore, the starch/PANI films can be potentially applied as colourimetric ammonia sensors for intelligent food packaging.

Publication date: 11/03/2022

Author: Min-Rui Chia

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym14061122

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.