Prolongation of the shelf life of perishable food products using biodegradable films and coatings

S. Guilbert, N. Gontard, L.G.M. Gorris

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    356 Citations (Scopus)


    The improvement of the safety and quality of minimally processed foods is of major interest to both the consumer and the food industry and is the topic of an EU-sponsored research project with nine international partners. The project optimizes existing techniques and in addition develops novel technologies to ensure high quality and safe food products. Among the systems studied is Modified Atmosphere Packaging, for which the available packaging film materials are tailored to the specific demands of the food products. A novelty in the project is the development of biodegradable packaging materials that can replace conventional synthetic materials. Additionally, edible coatings that are applied directly on the food surface are designed which create a modified atmosphere. The edible coatings can be furnished with active compounds such as antimicrobials or antioxidants to obtain additional desired effects. Such packagings and coatings may protect very powerfully against microbial spoilage and loss of intrinsic product quality, resulting in a prolonged shelf-life. An overview of the development and application of edible films and coatings is given here, comprising recent results from the EU project with regard to the barrier properties of edible films and the inclusion of active compounds.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10-17
    JournalFood Science and Technology = Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft und Technologie
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 1996

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