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Trends in Food Science & Technology
Volume 111, 2021, Pages 520-533

Electrospun antimicrobial materials: Advanced packaging materials for food applications

Fatemeh Hemmatib, Akbar Bahramib, Afshin Faridi Esfanjanic, Hedayat Hosseinia, David Julian McClementsa, Leonard Williamsb

Department of Food Science and Technology, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background: The food industry is developing natural antimicrobial materials for food preservation applications in response to the increasing demand for more sustainable and environmentally friendly consumer products. In particular, there is interest in the creation of natural antimicrobial packaging materials to enhance the safety and extend the shelf-life of foods. However, the production of these materials is often challenging because of their low stability during food processing and storage, their interactions with components in foods, and the uncontrolled release of encapsulated active components during storage. Some of these limitations can be overcome by using electrospun antimicrobial hybrid mats, in which natural antimicrobials are trapped within nanofibers fabricated by electrospinning.
Scope and approach: This review summarizes the principles underlying the formation and application of innovative materials consisting of natural antimicrobials encapsulated within nanofiber structures produced by electrospinning. In particular, the application of these nanocomposite materials to a number of important food groups are critically discussed, including meat, dairy, fruit, and vegetable products.
Key findings and conclusions: Electrospinning is an effective, straightforward, and cost-effective method to produce fibers with high porosity and surface-to-volume ratio which impede the primary fast release of entrapped compounds and provide their controlled release into the food system. Hence, according to these structural advantages, loading bioactive compounds into electrospun fibers improves their functionality, stability, bioavailability, and controlled release, which makes them a favorable option to be used in several applications including food packaging.

Keywords: Antimicrobial agents, Electrospinning, Antimicrobial packaging, Biopolymer, Electrospun fibers.

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