Edible Packaging Systems for Improved Microbial Quality of Animal-derived Foods and the Role of Emerging Technologies

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Animal-derived foods are susceptible to microbial spoilage due to their superior nutritional composition and high moisture content. Among the various options, edible packaging is a relatively nascent area and can effectively control microbial growth without substantially affecting the sensory and techno-functional properties. Numerous studies have evaluated the effect of edible packaging systems on the microbial quality of animal-derived foods, however, a review that specifically covers the effect of edible packaging on animal foods and summarizes the findings of these studies is missing in the literature. To fill this gap, the present review analyses the findings of the studies on animal foods published during the last five years. Studies have reported edible-packaging systems for improving microbial stability of animal foods using different biopolymers (proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, and their derivatives) and bioactive ingredients (phytochemicals, peptides, plant extracts, essential oils, and their nanoparticles, nanoemulsions or coarse emulsions). In general, nanoparticles and nanoemulsions are more effective in controlling microbial spoilage in animal foods compared to the direct addition of bioactive agents to the film matrices. Studies have reported the use of non-thermal and emerging technologies in combination with edible packaging systems for improved food safety or their use for enhancing functionality, bioactivity and characteristics of the packaging systems. Future studies should focus on developing sustainable packaging systems using widely available biopolymers and bioactive ingredients and should also consider the economic feasibility at the commercial scale.

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Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

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