New Edible Films Made from Algae: A Significant Breakthrough in Food Packaging Market

  • Analysis
  • 28-April-2021

Edible films refer to such continuous matrices that are produced from edible materials like lipids, proteins and polysaccharides. They have several applications and can be used to wrap up pouches for food or make up film coatings on or in between food components.

A research team has made a huge breakthrough in the sector of food packaging by developing a process through which edible films can be created using algae. This is a significant development for the Food Packaging Market as there is an inexhaustible supply of algae in the oceans. Moreover, the film so made is also water-soluble and can dissolve by about 90% in just 24 hours, further adding to its attractiveness.

The edible food film can be used to pack fruits, poultry, vegetables, seafood and meat. It mostly consists for natural ingredients that are termed to be good for consumer health as well as the environment at large. Researchers stated that they have created three different forms of food films that are all founded upon seaweed biopolymer sodium alginate that occurs naturally in the world. The molecules of this seaweed consist of film-forming properties. Sodium alginate is known to be a carbohydrate macromolecule with great potential as it has amazing film-forming properties after hydrolysis and is also exists plentifully in cell walls as a mixture of different salts. The most significant benefit of sodium alginate is that it has the ability to perform as a liquid-gel in an aqueous medium.

In order to make the appropriate film, alginate molecules were cross-linked with a natural antioxidant ferulic acid. The team stated that this process makes the film strong, rigid and homogenous while also prolonging the life of the products packaged. The food stays fresh longer with the usage of antioxidant components. This is because they slow down the oxidation processes that occur within the food.

Researchers revealed that they can also add to the antiviral agents of the film by using ingredients such as ginger, garlic or turmeric. They believe such things to be helpful as they contain compounds that help in the prevention of spreading of viruses. It can easily be produced at a polymer production plant. The condition that needs to be kept in mind though, is that it is necessary to meet the standards that apply to food production. The research has great potential as this would be an easy thing to maintain with an inexhaustible source of algae that is always nearby, making it easy to create such film.

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