Antimicrobial nanostructures in food packaging

Controlled release of antimicrobial compounds from food packaging with nanostructures.

A controlled release matrix is a structure designed to control the release of active compounds from a film at a desired speed and duration (Poncelet 2006). Controlled release systems can be used to optimize effectiveness of antimicrobial packages to reduce microbial growth in packed foods. Antimicrobial properties of essential oils are well known, however the primary challenges in using essential oils as antimicrobials on foods is that they are highly volatile, have very low aqueous solubility, and they add intense flavours and aromas to the food product at the concentrations needed for bacterial inhibition (Kalemba and Kunicka 2003). Nanotechnology is a growing technology in the pharmaceutical industry that protects active ingredients from harsh environments and improves drug delivery and uptake; it could also be an effective technology in antimicrobial packaging to reduce sensory impact of these antimicrobials and to allow a progressive release of the bioactive compounds from the package to extend the antimicrobial effect.

The objectives of this research are:1. Incorporate antimicrobial nanoparticles into a packaging film as a controlled delivery system. 2. Quantify the release rate of antimicrobials in a variety of food applications depending on different temperatures and other environmental and system conditions. 3. Apply modelling on antimicrobial migration kinetic and shelf-life prediction.

The antibacterial activity of the nanoparticles and nanocapsules will be tested both in vitro and in vivo. Controlled release experiments will be conducted at different environments (humility, temperature and PH) to determine the rate of antimicrobial release.

1. Poncelet, D. (2006). Microencapsulation: fundamentals, methods and applications. Surface Chemistry in Biomedical and Environmental Science, Springer: 23-34.

2. Kalemba, D. A. A. K., & Kunicka, A. (2003). Antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oils. Current medicinal chemistry, 10(10), 813-829.