Antimicrobial Food Packaging

Antimicrobial Food Packaging with Isothiocyanate as Natural Antimicrobial Agent.

Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), the breakdown product of the glucosinolate sinigrin derived e.g. from mustard seeds, is a volatile compound with strong antimicrobial effects on a variety of pathogenic and spoilage microorganism at low concentrations (Nadarajah et al. 2005). AITC is formed enzymatically and released to the headspace of packaging system due to myrosinase catalyzed hydrolyzation reaction when exposed to moisture and temperature abuse. Myrosinase is very reactive and sensitive against the moisture. As a result, the release of AITC needs to be controlled by manipulating myrosinase activity with intrinsic (e.g. pH, lipid, and moisture contents), and extrinsic factors (e.g. temperature) (Li and Kushad 2005). Moreover, the release rate of AITC from the packaging material into the headspace should be adapted to the growth rate of the target microorganism (Han 2000).

The objective of this research is to design an antimicrobial packaging that enhances the shelf-life of food by inhibiting the growth rate of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria by the release of AITC from a natural source. The release of AITC should be activated or accelerated when the package is exposed to temperature abuse along distribution.


This research will be conducted quantitatively with statistical analysis and predictive modelling. Some of the research topics which involve experimental work in the laboratory might be, as follows; 1. Release kinetics AITC from mustard seeds and its effectiveness on microorganism 2. Optimising Film Preparation with included sources of AITC 3. Controlled release of AITC from Packaging materials 4. Study Effects of AITC on Food including microbiological analysis, sensory analysis and predictive modelling

1. Han J. H. (2000). Antimicrobial Food Packaging. Food Technol. 54 56–65. 2. Li X and Kushad M. (2005). Purification and Characterization of Myrosinase from Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) Roots. Plant Physiol Biochem 43(6):503-511 3. Nadarajah, D., J.H. Han, and R.A. Holley, (2005b). Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Packaged Ground Beef by Allyl Isothiocyanate. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 99(3): 269-279.