In this Number:
LCA of Glass Mineral Water Bottles vs PET: an Italian Case Study.
Due to the serious problem of plastic pollution in the aquatic environment, many people reject plastic packaging in favor of glass containers which are considered more sustainable. To avoid misjudgments, the assessment of the sustainability of packaging alternatives should be done with a life cycle approach. In this regard, the study presents a comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of two alternative packaging systems for drinking water: reusable glass bottles and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The study was performed considering the real data of an Italian mineral water company that bottles and distributes both still and sparkling water.
Microplastics and Effect in Horticultural Crops: Food Safety and Plant Stress.
The presence of micro and nano plastics in the food chain constitutes an emerging problem of multifactorial food safety and physiological stress. The matter must be addressed with a strategic perspective since this pollutant is present in many products such as fish and shellfish, fruits and vegetables, thus affecting the public health. In this review, the authors present the results of scientists from different disciplines who are dedicated to discovering the chemical constitution, origin and content of these micro particles in edible plants, the contamination of irrigated soils by water, the mechanisms that concentrate microplastics in the soil, the methods, the contamination of freshwater sources in cities and the negative effect of nano and microplastics on various food products and their harmful impact on the environment.
Green Copolymers Based on Poly (Lactic Acid).
Poly-lactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable and biocompatible polymer that can be applied in the field of packaging and medicine. Its starting substrate is lactic acid and, for this reason, PLA can also be considered an ecological material produced from renewable resources. In addition to several advantages, poly-lactic acid has drawbacks such as brittleness and relatively high glass transition and melting temperatures. However, copolymerization of PLA with other polymers improves the characteristics of PLA and it is possible to obtain a desirable material characterized by preferable physical properties. This short review is extremely innovative as it presents a detailed overview of the PLA copolymerization results.
Collection of Antimicrobial Peptides from Insects (Hermetia Illucens) and Applications in Food Packaging.
With the increase in population, the demand for food is also increasing, which can lead to scarcity. Proper packaging is one of the ways to avoid food spoilage and prevent waste. In recent years, active packaging has gained interest due to its commendable results in food storage. Several studies have shown that the embodiment of antimicrobial components in the packaging material has the ability to prevent microbial contamination. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are newly discovered antimicrobial agents for insertion into packaging material. The agents that cause disease in humans are the same as those found in insects. Hence, AMPs extracted from insects have the potential to fight microorganisms that act as human health hazards.
Alternatives to Plastic: Algae in Food Contact Materials (Active Packaging, Smart Packaging, Edible Films and Coatings).
Plastic, which is an important food packaging material, harms the ecosystem, wildlife and the environment. As a result, a lot of research is underway on alternative polymers, which have similar properties to plastics but are also environmentally friendly (biodegradable). In recent years, the use of algae polysaccharides has sparked interest due to its biodegradability, non-toxicity, antioxidant capacity and excellent film-forming ability. However, it has a number of drawbacks such as low tensile strength, water solubility, and moderate antibacterial characteristics, among others. The addition of other biopolymers, nanoparticles or natural active agents improves its characteristics.
Active Casein Coatings and Films for Perishable Foods: Structural Properties and Extension of Shelf Life.
There is an urgent need to increase food stocks to meet the needs of future generations, as the world’s population is projected to grow to over 10 billion by 2050. Active edible coatings and films are a promising sustainable preservation technology for the extension of the shelf life of food products. Among protein-based biopolymers, casein and its derivatives as packaging films have been extensively studied due to their low cost, complete biodegradability and availability. Currently, there is no review study focusing on caseinate-based active coating and film, therefore, this review aims at providing insights into the composition, rheology, structure and properties of caseinate-based formulations by critically discussing the results introduced.
Safety of Plastic Food Packaging: Risk Assessment of Unintentionally Added Substances (NIAS)
Several food contact materials (FCMs) contain unintentionally added substances (NIAS) and most substances that migrate from plastic food packaging are unknown. This review aims at assessing the main challenges involving unknown NIAS in plastic food packaging in terms of identification, migration testing, prediction, sample preparation, determination methods and risk assessment studies. Decomposition products are almost the primary source of NIAS in plastic FCMs.