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Active packaging containing encapsulated carvacrol for control of postharvest decay

Shemesh, Rotem, Krepker, Maksym, Nitzan, Nadav, Vaxman, Anita, Segal, Ester
Postharvest biology and technology 2016 v.118 pp. 175-182
Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus niger, Botrytis cinerea, Penicillium digitatum, Penicillium expansum, antifungal properties, antimicrobial packaging, carvacrol, cherry tomatoes, encapsulation, essential oils, food loss, food packaging, fresh produce, fungi, grapes, halloysite, humans, in vivo studies, industry, litchis, nanotubes, nutritive value, nylon, pathogens, plastic bags, polyamides, postharvest diseases, shelf life, supply chain, wastes
Roughly, one-third of the food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted. These losses occur at all stages of the food value chain and across all types of food. Active packaging already plays a vital role in preventing wastage and further innovation is imperative to streamlining the food supply chain. Herein, we present an antimicrobial packaging based on polyamide (Nylon 6), containing a model essential oil (carvacrol). The volatile carvacrol molecules are encapsulated with Halloysite nanotubes (HNTs), which are naturally occurring aluminosilicate. The resulting polyamide films had an outstanding in vitro antifungal properties, with a broad spectrum of inhibitory activity against a wide range of fungal molds: Alternaria alternata, Botrytis cinerea, Penicillium digitatum, Penicillium expansum and Aspergillus niger. Furthermore, the active polyamide-based plastic bags were used for fresh produce packaging and their fungicidal and/or fungistatic effects on postharvest pathogens of cherry tomatoes, lychee and grapes were investigated. These in vivo experiments have resulted in reduced decay development and significantly extended shelf life. The presented technology holds a great potential for the development of custom-made active packaging for the food and postharvest industries, in a global effort to reduce food loss and waste.