The green and smart packaging is becoming a trend in food industry. With the concern over food safety, the combination of biodegradable plastic with antimicrobial property against food pathogen will be of great benefit. Health-risk of consumers can be reduced. Shelf-life of products can be extended, thereby lowering the economic loss. Importantly, the waste of post use of this packaging will be decomposed through compostable system without causing environmental waste problems.
In this study, scientists focus on the development of biodegradable poly(lactic acid) (PLA) enriched with pediocin, a type of antimicrobial agent that has been approved for use in food. Direct incorporation of antimicrobial peptide to PLA film has been limited by the hydrophobic characteristics of PLA. The incompatibility of bacteriocin in hydrophobic polymers caused the phase separation in film, leading to poor antimicrobial activity and mechanical properties. To solve this problem, sawdust particle (SP), a low-water solubility hydrophilic particle, was incorporated in PLA film to enhance adsorption of pediocin using diffusion coating technique. The PLA/SP biocomposite film coated with pediocin was tested for physical properties as well as the anti-listeria activity. The results suggested that this novel material can be used as a good anti-listeria biodegradable packaging for pork and other high-moisture foods.
This study is a collaboration between scientists from Prince of Songkla University, Kyushu University (Japan), National Metal and Materials Technology Center (MTEC) and Food Biotechnology Research Unit.