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The design of active packaging for food applications with oxygen scavenging or antioxidant capacity


This project wants to propose innovative Active Food Packaging, with oxygen scavenger or antioxidant capacity. Active Packaging has increased strongly during recent years and innovative modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) or other active packaging systems are being developed around the world. These new packaging concepts will be easily commercialized in Europe after being recently included in the European Directive for food contacting materials.
The best known and most widely used active packaging technologies for food today are those engineered to scavenge oxygen. In this case, active compounds can be either contained in individual sachets put into the package or included within the plastic packaging materials. The main goal is to reduce the oxygen level which is responsible for oxidation of food constituents. Other possibilities to overcome oxidation is the use of antioxidant substances which instead of reducing the oxygen concentration, limit the presence of radicals and catalyst metals to promote competing catalysed oxidative reactions. The overall aim of this project is to develop packaging materials which actively decrease the food oxidation.
This objective includes the development and the characterization of films with oxygen scavenging capacity and the inclusion of antioxidant compounds in the packaging system. The latter task will be attempted by addition of the agent in biopolymeric matrices which alternatively could be used as self supported film or as coating on other packaging materials or the product (if the coating is edible). The efficiency and potential use of these films will be studied in the case of meat and meat product storage as meat represents one of the most consumed food product across the EU whose quality is strongly sensitive to oxidation processes. This is a topic of increasing interest and largelly studied in the host institution, the Packaging Laboratory of the Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA) of CSIC.

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