The Use of Essential Oils in Active Food Packaging: A Review of Recent Studies
Keywords:Essential oils, food processing, packaging, films, coatings
AbstractPublic concern on the excessive use of synthetic food additives has raised a great interest to use natural products due to their potential in food and pharmacological industries. Nowadays, chemical food additives are questioned due to their contribution to the health risks and environmental impacts. Among natural additives, essential oils (EOs) are extracted from aromatic compounds and responsible for their biological activities namely antimicrobial and antioxidant capacity. Incorporation of bio-active compounds particularly EOs directly in food or edible/biodegradable food packaging seems to enhance the shelf life and quality characteristics of processed food and protect the consumers against oxidative and bacterial deterioration effects. However, inclusion of EOs in films/coatings for food packaging may put some effects on various properties (optic, tensile and etc.), which can affect the consumer acceptability. Their addition in food can cause some allergic and hypersensitivity reactions to the individuals who use them often. This paper aims to review the latest findings on the use of EOs incorporated with edible/biodegradable films and coatings to enhance the shelf life and quality of the food. Further investigations about essential oils are expected to clarify their exact action and build up their standard use in food industry.
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