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Cinnamon-based packaging could prevent food spoilage

By Jane Byrne , 18-Jul-2008

Active paper packaging containing a cinnamon-based coating inhibits black bread mould on white bread, claims a new study.

Active packaging changes the condition of the packaged food product to either extend its shelf life or improve its safety while ensuring quality. Processors are increasingly seeking it out to help prevent spoilage of foods through moulds.

Researchers at the University of Zaragoza, according to findings published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, found that solid wax paraffin incorporating cinnamaldehyde-fortified cinnamon essential oil is an efficient antimicrobial coating for paper or board packaging to inhibit white bread spoiling.

"The use of this active paper packaging is a smart alternative for protecting bread from fungal infestation since no direct contact between the food and the packaging is required," concluded the researchers.
Objective
The objective of the study, according to the article, was to test the antifungal activity of the active paper against Rhizopusstolonifer fungus, which constitutes, along with Aspergillus and Penicillium genera, the most prevalent spoiler of white bread and baked goods.

"Different approaches have been proposed for controlling microbial growth in sliced bread, including ultraviolet light, aseptic packaging, and use of chemical preservatives but no application of active packaging has been proposed until now," claim the researchers.

The researchers wrote that their hypothesis is based on the release of the active chemicals from the active coating to the internal atmosphere in the packaging and they said that this atmosphere is responsible for the antifungal activity.

Study
An active paper was manufactured by Madrid-based project partner, Rylesa-Repsol-YPF, using an active paraffin formulation containing the appropriate amount of cinnamon essential oil as an active agent, according to the article.

The manufacture of the coating included a heating step at 100° C for ten minutes. Paper was doubled coated, said the group, with only side having the active coating and it was then tested against mould R. stolonifer using a vapour test.

Effectiveness proved
"The results demonstrate that 6 per cent (w/w) of the essential oil in the active coating formulation completely inhibits the growth of R. stolonifer, whereas 4 per cent still has strong antimicrobial activity in in-vitro conditions," wrote the researchers.

The active paper was further evaluated with food by using sliced bread and varying storage times.

"After three days of storage, almost complete inhibition is obtained with 6 per cent cinnamon essential oil," claim the researchers.

According to the group, further work is required to optimize the new active packaging.

Source: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print
"New Cinnamon-Based Active Paper Packaging against Rhizopusstolonifer Food Spoilage"
Authors: A. Rodriguez, C. Nerin, R. Battle

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