What is it about?

The packaging material is a crucial barrier to protecting food against contamination and spoilage during handling, transport, and storage. However, plastic packaging can lead to severe environmental, human, and animal health problems when disposed of improperly. With that in mind, alternatives have been created to replace conventional plastic materials with cleaner packaging, especially those based on biobased and biodegradable materials. Furthermore, the addition of nanomaterials and natural antioxidant compounds has been an attractive strategy to improve the antibacterial and antioxidant properties of the packaging, aiming to reduce the proliferation of microorganisms and eventual oxidative processes that lead to food degradation.

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Why is it important?

Food packaging based on nanomaterials combined with natural antioxidant actives, such as plant extracts and essential oils, has a more excellent antibacterial and antioxidant effect of prolonging the shelf life of food. Packaging systems based on biobased and biodegradable materials have a lower environmental impact and are efficient in food protection. Despite the advantages, special attention should be given to future investigations into nanomaterials migration and cytotoxic potential to guarantee consumer safety.


I believe that using biobased and biodegradable materials is an emerging trend in the food packaging industry. Although adding nanomaterials and natural antioxidant compounds in active packaging is an alternative to conventional packaging, some gaps still need to be investigated regarding toxicity and regulations to ensure consumer safety.

Dr. Italo Rennan Sousa Vieira
Institute of Chemistry, Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Recent advances in biobased and biodegradable polymer nanocomposites, nanoparticles, and natural antioxidants for antibacterial and antioxidant food packaging applications, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, June 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1541-4337.12990.
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