An international group of scientists from India and Russia have created edible food films for packaging fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat, and seafood. Films contain natural materials, are safe for health and the environment. In addition, films are soluble in water and disperse nearly 90% in 24 hours. A description of research and test results is published in the Journal of Food Engineering.
We have created three types of food films based on the famous naturally occurring sodium alginate seaweed biopolymer. Its molecules have film-forming properties. Sodium alginate is a strong carbohydrate macromolecule that contains the film-forming properties that can be hydrolysis and is abundant in cell walls as a mixture of various salts. The main advantage of sodium alginate is that it performs as a gel-liquid in aqueous medium. “
Rammohan Aluru, Co-Author of Research and Senior Researcher of the Organic Synthesis Laboratory, Ural Federal University
Alginate molecules were cross-linked with natural antioxidant ferulic acid. It makes the film not only strong, but also homogeneous, harder, and extends the life of the products.
“Food stays fresh longer because of the antioxidant components that slow down the oxidation processes,” said Grigory Zyryanov, a professor in the Department of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry at Ural Federal University. “In addition, we can add to the films natural antiviral agents, which will also extend the shelf life of food. Garlic, turmeric, and ginger contain fertilizers that can prevent the spread of viruses.”
According to the authors, no special equipment is required to make films. On an industrial scale, it can be created by manufacturers of food products and films.
“It can also be extracted at a polymer production plant. The only condition is that it must meet the standards applicable to food production. And if there is an unstable algae source in the nearby ocean there will be it is very simple to create such films, “said Grigory Zyryanov.
Yerramathia, BB, et al. (2021) Structural and bioactivity studies of sodium alginate prepared films performed via ferulic acid crosslinking. Food Magazine Engineering. doi.