Technological watch

From Fields to Films: Exploring Starch from Agriculture Raw Materials for Biopolymers in Sustainable Food Packaging

In the wake of escalating global concerns over the environmental impact of plastic pollution, there has been an unprecedented call for sustainable alternatives. The food-packaging industry, responsible for a staggering 40% of global plastic consumption, faces mounting challenges driven by environmental degradation and concerns about fossil fuel depletion. Motivated by these challenges, there is a growing interest in reducing reliance on traditional packaging and exploring eco-friendly solutions derived from renewable resources. Eco-efficient packaging, specifically derived from agricultural raw materials, emerges as a promising solution that aligns with ecological, economic, and social sustainability principles. Starch, abundant and versatile, emerges as a frontrunner among agricultural raw materials for biopolymers. Its inherent properties, including low cost, availability, biodegradability, and biocompatibility, make it a compelling choice. Starch-based bioplastics, with their potential to replace synthetic primary packaging materials, have gained traction due to their satisfactory mechanical and barrier properties. This review delves into the realm of starch-based films and coatings for food applications. It explores fundamental properties, advantages, and limitations, offering insights into potential improvements through various treatments or additive combinations. As technological advances drive the popularity of biodegradable starch-based packaging, this review aims to contribute to the ongoing discourse, providing a comprehensive overview and paving the way for more functional and widely applicable products in the ever-evolving landscape of sustainable packaging.

Publication date: 11/03/2024

Author: Elsa M. Gonçalves

Reference: doi: 10.3390/agriculture14030453



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.