The use of synthetic petroleum based packaging films caused serious environmental problems due to their difficulty in recycling and poor biodegradability. Therefore, present study was aimed to develop natural biopolymer-based antimicrobial packaging films as an alternative for the synthetic packaging films. As a natural antimicrobial agent, grapefruit seed extract (GSE) has been incorporated into agar to prepare antimicrobial packaging film. The films with different concentrations of GSE were prepared by a solvent casting method and the resulting composite films were examined physically and mechanically. In addition, the films were characterized by FE-SEM, XRD, FT-IR and TGA. The incorporation of GSE caused increase in color, UV barrier, moisture content, water solubility and water vapor permeability, while decrease in surface hydrophobicity, tensile strength and elastic modulus of the films. As the concentration of GSE increased from 0.6 to 13.3 μg/mL, the physical and mechanical properties of the films were affected significantly. The addition of GSE changed film microstructure of the film, but did not influence the crystallinity of agar and thermal stability of the agar-based films. The agar/GSE films exhibited distinctive antimicrobial activity against three test food pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus and Escherichia coli. These results suggest that agar/GSE films have potential to be used in an active food packaging systems for maintaining food safety and extending the shelf-life of the packaged food.
ASJC Scopus subject areas