Bioactive Absorbent Chitosan Aerogels Reinforced with Bay Tree Pruning Waste Nanocellulose with Antioxidant Properties for Burger Meat Preservation
As a transition strategy towards sustainability, food packaging plays a crucial role in the current era. This, carried out in a biorefinery context of agricultural residues, involves not only obtaining desirable products but a comprehensive utilization of biomass that contributes to the circular bioeconomy. The present work proposes the preparation of bioactive absorbent food pads through a multi-product biorefinery approach from bay tree pruning waste (BTPW). In a first step, chitosan aerogels reinforced with lignocellulose and cellulose micro/nanofibers from BTPW were prepared, studying the effect of residual lignin on the material&rsquo;s properties. The presence of micro/nanofibers improved the mechanical performance (up to 60%) in addition to increasing the water uptake (42%) when lignin was present. The second step was to make them bioactive by incorporating bay leaf extract. The residual lignin in the micro/nanofibers was decisive, since when present, the release profiles of the extract were faster, reaching an antioxidant power of more than 85% after only 30 min. Finally, these bioactive aerogels were used as absorbent pads for fresh meat. With the use of the bioactive aerogels (with &ge;2% extract), the meat remained fresh for 10 days as a result of delayed oxidation of the food during storage (20% metmyoglobin proportion).