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Nutrition, Dietetics, Public and environmental health
Due to its short lifetime, food packaging leads to a rapid accumulation of plastic in our surroundings and thereby also has a huge impact on environmental pollution. To reduce these effects and create a more sustainable approach towards food packaging, biodegradable and biobased polymers have been developed and are emerging on the market.
Scope and approach
This review provides the current state of research regarding active packaging and the incorporation of seaweed into food packaging. Further, it summarises the resulting consequences of the seaweed incorporation on mechanical, physical, thermal, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and chemical properties, as well as the release of active compounds to show the advantages of the polysaccharides as well as possible shortcomings in current research.
Key findings and conclusions
To improve these polymers regarding their mechanical, thermal, and antimicrobial properties etc. a variety of polysaccharides such as seaweeds can be used. They not only lead to an increase in hydrophilicity and improved mechanical properties such as tensile strength and elongation at break but also create the possibility of using it as active packaging. This can be achieved due to the naturally occurring antioxidant properties in seaweed, which can minimize lipid oxidation and thereby increase the shelf life and nutritional value of food as well as reduce free radicals which might have a carcinogenic, mutagenic, or cytotoxic effect. Some seaweeds such as H. elongate have also proven to inhibit the growth of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, meaning that they could possibly be used as antimicrobial packaging.
Dietz Carina, Shubham Sharma, Amit K. Jaiswal, Swarna Jaiswal, Seaweeds polysaccharides in active food packaging: A review of recent progress, Trends in Food Science & Technology, Volume 110, 2021, Pages 559-572, ISSN 0924-2244, DOI: 10.1016/j.tifs.2021.02.022