A Short Note on Active and Intelligent Food Packaging
09 October 20144 min reading
Pamukkale University School of Applied Sciences, Turkey
University of Reading School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences,
“Food packaging industry is being expected to transform new packaging developments because of the market become saturated. Advanced packaging should have to leave its passive role and enter to an active role, as interacting with food and its environment in a positive way.”
Active and intelligent food packaging is developing novel food packaging solutions for industry and consumers. It includes packaging materials that have antimicrobial or scavenger properties, freshness and shelf-life indicators, controlled released packaging (CRP).
Food preservation is a leading theme for the industry. From the ancient period up today there have been several attempts to preserve foods more stable. Today, the terms of active and intelligent are joined to make a synergy in packaged products.
This note is aimed to take attention on smart plastic films have a potential as a “consume-within” indicator in the food packaging industry (Mills et al., 2012) and propose an active and intelligent packaging concept for the fresh manti dish which allows to sense and detect its spoilage.
ACTIVE AND INTELLIGENT PACKAGING
Packaging protects foods from external influences. This principal function covers retarding deterioration, extending shelf life and maintaining the quality and safety of packaged food (Han et al., 2005; Restuccia et al., 2010). Convenience, marketing and communication, too, should be taken account.
Food packaging industry is being expected to transform new packaging developments because of the market become saturated. Advanced packaging should have to leave its passive role and enter to an active role, as interacting with food and its environment in a positive way (Borchert 2013).
Among the various terms created to define these new technologies, two main groups of technology that have been established in literature and incorporated in new Framework Regulations on Food Contact Materials, “active packaging” (AP) and “intelligent packaging” (IP) (Puligundla et al., 2012).
Active packaging means to change the condition of packed food to extend its shelf life, while maintaining the quality of packaged food. Intelligent packaging monitors the condition of packaged foods to communicate with the end-user during transportation and storage (Puligundla et al., 2012). Yam et al. (2005) determined a model where AP was mantled around the protective area of food packaging and IP around the area of communication (Borchert 2013).
The need for monitoring certain packaging conditions brought the development in intelligent packaging. Monitoring the changes inside of the package with traditional systems such as, headspace gas analyser, gas chromatography, microbial and sensory analyses are time consuming and expensive. A new technology that can overcome these limitations is based on indicators and sensors that can be incorporated inside the packages to provide fast, non-destructive and reliable determination of important conditions of the packed food. Biosensors, chemical sensors and gas sensors have been developed, recently. The most developed technology is optical oxygen sensors (Borchert 2013), a class of chemical sensors and by definition “a miniaturized device that can deliver real-time and on-line information on the presence of specific compounds or ions in even complex samples” (Quaranta et al., 2012).
Apart from the several commercial oxygen gas sensors, a novel, water-proof, irreversible, reusable oxygen smart plastic film containing nano-particulate pigment particles, consisting of methylene blue and DL-threitol coated onto P25 TiO2, has been extruded in low-density polyethylene by Mills et al. (2012). The possible application of this type indicator (Image 1) in food packaging can be used as a guide to how long a package has been left in a fridge at 5°C (Mills et al., 2012).
Several CO2 gas sensors are also described in the literature for a feasible usage (Image 2). As CO2 inhibits growth of many aerobic microorganisms, has a crucial effect in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). Therefore, measurement of the ratio of CO2 in MAP during the cold storage is essential. Optochemical CO2 sensors (Image 3) carry high potential. These systems relied on the principles of a Severinghaus electrode using a pH-optode. Many CO2 sensors, based on different sensing schemes, such as Intensity based, Dual Luminophore Referencing, Inner Filter Quenching and Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET).
It might be developed a FRET system to detect the CO2 level in modified atmosphere packed mantı samples, which would be focused on to detect 5% CO2. In our previous study, microorganisms consumed O2 and produced CO2 during growth at air-packed mantı samples in a barrier film and tray, during cold storage (4°C) after 20 days. CO2 level increased from 0% to 4.6%, and O2 decreased from 20.8% to 13.85%. Samples become spoilt by observing the mould mycelia inside of the package (Uzunlu 2012).
Finally, it would be developed for a better product quality and value by sensing the spoilage signal of CO2 in the food package.
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