Smart packaging films based on natural materials: Potential as sustained-release carriers and food quality indicators

01 December 2021 → 30 November 2024
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Agricultural, veterinary and food sciences not elsewhere classified
protein fibrillization high internal phase emulsion food quality food freshness smart packaging film
Project description

Food packaging innovation activities have gradually expanded toward the development of smart packaging due to the emerging need for new and efficient ways to solve safety and quality issues through the supply chain, and reduce product losses. On the other hand, the widespread utilization of petroleum-based plastic packaging has become a major global concern because their production and disposal are causing many environmental problems. With this challenging and multi-disciplinary project, we target solutions that simultaneously minimize food waste and the use of plastic packaging by using sustainable, smart packaging solutions. To this end, this project proposes a novel biodegradable smart packaging system based on raw materials from natural origin (gluten and polylactic acid). The application span for high internal phase emulsions will for the first time be extended to the fabrication of emulsified films with desired functional properties, with recently discovered gluten fibrils. On the basis of the conception and design philosophy of bilayer films, smart packaging films will be constructed with the combined function of both sustained-release carrier and food quality indicator, enabling to simultaneously improve the food preservation properties and provide real-time food quality information to the consumer. Results from this project can provide new ideas towards the development of low-cost, easily manufactured and environmentally friendly smart packaging technologies.