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Stabilization of mineral oil hydrocarbons in recycled paper pulp by organo-functionalized mesoporous silicas and evaluation of migration to food
- Buscaroli, Enrico, Bussini, Daniele, Bisio, Chiara, Montecchio, Daniela, Elegir, Graziano, Garbini, Davide, Marchese, Leonardo, Braschi, Ilaria
- European food research & technology 2017 v.243 no.8 pp. 1471-1484
- food industry, hydrocarbons, mineral oil, packaging, paper, paper pulp, paperboard, papermaking, pigments, porous media, recycled paper, silica, solvents, sorbents, washing, wheat, wheat flour
- The occurrence of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) in cellulose-based packaging is mainly due to the offset printing process where MOH are used as a ink pigments’ solvent. The MOH migration from paper/paperboard to food is matter of concern for EFSA, members state authorities, consumers, and food industry. In this study, the feasibility to stabilize MOH by adding a sorbent into recycled paper obtained through a common washing process was investigated and the migration to wheat flour/Tenax® assessed. Among several white/pale yellow porous materials, organo-modified powder silica MCM-41-Si(CH₃)₃ showed the best combination between affinity for MOH (184% dw) and stability to thermal regeneration. A freshly issued newspaper with >3000 mg MOH kg⁻¹ was used to produce recycled paper at a laboratory-scale plant. MCM-41-Si(CH₃)₃ was added at the pulping step (1% dw) and the sorbent-enriched pulp handled according to a washing paper production process with no effect on the paper optical brightness. The MOH content of the wheat flour in contact with the sorbent-enriched paper under accelerated migration conditions (15 days at 40 °C) resulted 20% of that contacted with control paper (4.3 ± 1.1 and 20.4 ± 5.5 mg kg⁻¹, respectively), despite its contamination was 24% higher than the control. On the contrary, Tenax® contamination resulted 56.0 ± 10.0 and 47 ± 14.0 mg kg⁻¹ when exposed to sorbent-enriched and control paper, respectively.