Functionalizing and bio-preserving processed food products via probiotic and synbiotic edible films and coatings
Thierry Helleboisa,b, Maria Tsevdouc, Christos Soukoulisa
Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) Department, Systems and Bioprocessing Engineering Group, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
Edible films and coatings constitute an appealing concept of innovative, cost-effective, sustainable and eco-friendly packaging solution for food industry applications. Edible packaging needs to comply with several technological pre-requisites such as mechanical durability, low permeability to water vapor and gases, good optical properties, low susceptibility to chemical or microbiological alterations and neutral sensory profile. Over the past few years, functionalization of edible films and coatings via the inclusion of bioactive compounds (antioxidants, micronutrients, antimicrobials, natural coloring and pigmentation agents) and beneficial living microorganisms has received much attention. As for living microorganisms, probiotic bacterial cells, primarily belonging to the Lactobacilli or Bifidobacteria genera, have been exploited to impart bespoke health and biopreservation benefits to processed food. Given that the health benefit conferring and biopreservation potential of probiotics is dependent on several extrinsic and intrinsic parameters, the development of probiotic and synbiotic edible packaging concepts is a quite challenging task. In the present chapter, we aimed at a timely overview of the technological advances in the field of probiotic, symbiotic and synbiotic edible films and coatings. The individual or combined effects of intrinsic (matrix composition and physical state, pH, dissolved oxygen, water activity, presence of growth stimulants or inhibitors) and extrinsic (film forming method, food processing, storage time and conditions, exposure to gastrointestinal conditions) factors on maintaining the biological activity of probiotic cells were addressed. Moreover, the impact of living cells inclusion on the mechanical, physicochemical and barrier properties of the edible packaging material as well as on the shelf-life and quality of the coated or wrapped food products, were duly discussed.
Keywords: Edible films, Coatings, Packaging innovation, Probiotics, Synbiotics, Food biopolymers, Prebiotics, Shelf-life, Food quality, Food safety