Food Industry and Packaging Materials - Performance-oriented Guidelines for Users

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Different scientific reports support this hypothesis in intestinal epithelial cell line models. According to Tarantini and co-workers, silica NPs induced oxidative stress is probably responsible for induction of apoptosis and DNA damage. Silica NPs were genotoxic to cells and augmented the frequency of micronucleus formation Tarantini et al. As reported by Yang et al. Overall they didn't report any apoptosis or necrosis, indicated that the ROS generation may accompany decreased viability and cell cycle arrest. In contrast to the above reports, Moos et al. These results are further supported by Schubbe et al.

From the above reports, it can be concluded that the harmful effects of silica NPs are associated with high dosage i.

Nanotechnology: An Untapped Resource for Food Packaging

TiO 2 NPs have been associated with cytotoxicity mediated through oxidative stress-dependent pathways leading to DNA damage, cell cycle arrest or delay and mitochondrial dysfunction, particularly in pulmonary and inhalation models Shi et al. However, experimental data observed in intestinal epithelial cells are in agreement that TiO 2 NPs are nontoxic. Koeneman et al.

No decrease in TEER was examined after acute exposure and no induction of cell death was reported after acute or chronic exposure. No toxicity in Caco-2 cells was observed. Few studies had supported that TiO 2 NP can disrupt normal microvilli structure in intestinal epithelial cells, which affects the normal cellular functions, particularly nutrient absorption McCracken et al. As reported earlier, ZnO NPs may lead to toxicity due to of the NP dissolution either in outside or within the cells, leading to enhanced availability of zinc ions, which interacts with enzymes and other cell components; oxidative stress and lysosomal destabilization; and mitochondrial dysfunction contributing to the cytotoxic response Vandebriel and De Jong, Song et al.

Silver nanoparticles are genotoxic, cytotoxic and even carcinogenic. The nano size of NPs allows them to cross the cellular barrier, leading to the formation of free radicals in the tissues and eventually leading to oxidative damage to the cells and tissues Pradhan et al.

Food Industry and Packaging Materials - Performance-oriented Guideline | Chemtec Publishing

In several in vitro studies, Ag NPs displayed toxicity through an oxidative stress-dependent mechanism as well as through oxidative stress-independent intracellular effects. Similar toxicity has been observed in intestinal epithelial cells Bohmert et al. In another study, Aueviriyavit et al. However, Song et al. Other nanomaterial s , such as carbon NPs are also known to cause allergic inflammation and it has been reported that the single and multi-walled carbon nanotubes increased lung inflammation and allergen-specific IgE levels in mice sensitized to OVA egg allergen.

In another study, multi-walled carbon nanotubes with preexisting inflammation increased airway fibrosis in mice with allergic asthma He and Hwang, Besides these concerns, application of some nanocomposites triggered concerns regarding their environmental impacts, due to their non-biodegradable nature. Therefore, eco-toxicity studies on nanoparticles are mandatory before their commercial applications.

Overall, the existing reports regarding the toxicity of NPs are not in full agreement with each other and also not fully conclusive. There are ambiguous results leading to a vague situation regarding the toxicity of NP to human beings. Some reports indicate total metal migration, over others showing particle migration. An imperative conclusion from the above discussion is that if nanoparticles are completely covered or encapsulated by the host polymer matrix, then the probability of migration into food matrix is quite less.

However, during un-intentional mechanical impact on the food contact surface, could alter the smooth properties or in case of cut edges or technically improperly manufactured polymer nanocomposite with nanoparticles may lead to its release. In lieu of the above, manufacturers should reassure fully incorporation of nanoparticles in films or molded articles Stormer et al. Nevertheless, the available scientific data on toxicity or migration of NPs is still at infancy stage and additional meticulous analysis is required before their vast application.

The ultimate fate and toxicity of nanomaterials in food packaging depend on the physiochemical characteristics and dosage. Safe application of nanotechnology to the food packaging requires systematic characterization and assessment in silico, in vitro , and in vivo.

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Altogether, taking into thought, a varied number of physical, chemical and biological factors, their absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and lastly their toxicity should be quantified and evaluated for risk assessment to consumers He and Hwang, The quality of food items chiefly rely over their perishability. Perishable foods require ambient temperature to maintain quality and freshness during transit and storage.

Monitoring the extent to which perishable foods encounter degradation promoting factors chiefly, oxygen, light and ethylene can control perishability. Food package and the packaging material involved play an important and decisive role in food quality and shelf life. Packaging chiefly influences the barrier properties to form an irrefutable food environment. The dawn of nanotechnology has further opened up new avenues and technological advancement possibilities in food packaging area.


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Linking of nanoparticles to polymer to fabricate nanomaterial packaging potentiates routine packaging with enhanced barrier properties, mechanical and thermal strength, flexibility and stability. Time-consuming quality-control analysis as well as consumer technical illiteracy is another key problem surfacing the food industry. It is anticipated that conventional packaging will be thoroughly replaced with multifunctional smart or active packaging.

Nano-structured materials put a check to microbial invasion, assuring microbial food safety. Additionally, nanosensors alert and warn consumers regarding the safety and accurate nutritional status of the packaged food. Several corporations have entered in this area with introduction of new packaging systems with updated technology. However, being a young branch, gaps in knowledge exists, leaving ample questions to the scientific community; mainly concerning its toxicity and ecotoxicity.

Concerns regarding nanoparticles migration to packaged foodstuffs has been raised, however, migration assays and risk assessment are still not conclusive. Undefined toxicity, scarcity of supportive clinical trials data and risk assessment studies limits the application of nanomaterial in the food packaging sector. Lastly, for the successful implementation of nanotechnologies at gigantic scale, consumer's approval is mandatory. Both benefits and risks assessment should be acknowledged undoubtedly.

Accredited research bodies should come forward with appropriate labeling and set down common regulations that boost the consumer acceptability.

Government agencies should come forward and work in co-ordinance with each other to tackle this issue sensibly and gallantly and make a way for developing world. Legislation and strategies should be framed prudently for the sake of civilization concerning the management and application of nanomaterial in food packaging systems. CS and RD have contributed equally to this review work. NR helped in updating the manuscript. HP assisted in compilation and proper editing of this review.

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. The reviewer FP and handling Editor declared their shared affiliation, and the handling Editor states that the process nevertheless met the standards of a fair and objective review. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Microbiol v.

Food industry and packaging materials : performance-oriented guidelines for users

Front Microbiol. Published online Sep Romika Dhiman 2 Department of Microbiology, D. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. College for Girls, Yamuna Nagar, India. This article was submitted to Food Microbiology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. Received Nov 17; Accepted Aug The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.

No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Food commodities are packaged and hygienically transported to protect and preserve them from any un-acceptable alteration in quality, before reaching the end-consumer. Keywords: nanotechnology, packaging, nanoparticles, antimicrobial, nanosensors. Introduction Global food industry is under rising pressure to meet consumers demand for safe, healthy and fresh food, along with a challenge to meet updated strict food safety regulations.

Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Concept behind and mode of action of active packaging and intelligent packaging.

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Figure 2. Figure 3. Figure 4. Improved packaging through nanocomposites Nanocomposites, a fusion of traditional food packaging material with nanoparticles are gaining active interest in food packaging sector. Clay and silicate nanoplatelets Clay and silicates, owing to their availability, low cost and relatively simple processibility have attracted focus of researchers as potential nanoparticles.

Figure 5. Cellulose-based nanofibers or nanowhiskers Cellulose, the building material of long fibrous cells, is a highly strong natural polymer.


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Starch nanocrystals Starch has been extensively explored over decades as a choice material for food packaging applications. Active packaging Unlike conventional food packaging, an active packaging is intentionally designed packaging system that incorporates components that would release antimicrobial or antioxidant agents or absorb oxygen or water vapor material into or from the packaged food or the food environment. Figure 6. Silver nanoparticle Silver nanoparticles are among the most explored nanoparticles, owing to their established antimicrobial potential against multiple commensal and pathogenic strains Kumar and Munstedt, Other antimicrobial nanoparticles Copper nanoparticles were shown to inhibit the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, E.