Biodegradable films made from carbohydrates, such as pectin, have gained popularity as alternatives to nondegradable packaging materials because their sources are biodegradable, renewable, and cheap by-products. However, biodegradable films’ mechanical properties, thermal properties, and water vapor permeability (WVP) have a deficient performance compared to plastics typically used in food packaging, such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC). The addition of nanomaterials (NMAT) has been shown to improve those film properties. The objectives of this review were to summarize and analyze how the nature, concentration, distribution, and intermolecular interactions of NMAT in pectin films influence the film’s mechanical properties, thermal properties, and WVP. Most studies conclude that adequate distribution of the NMAT within the film promotes proper interface contact among film constituents and improves the film properties. Increasing the NMAT concentration has also been correlated with better biopolymer properties, but the relationship is not always linear. When compared to plastics commonly used for food packaging, pectin nanobiocomposites have similar tensile strength, WVP, and some have similar thermal resistance; however, most pectin nanobiocomposites cannot withstand as much deformation when a force is applied, compared to plastics. These results show pectin nanobiocomposites have potential as food packaging materials. However, more studies are needed to optimize pectin nanobiocomposite films and determine the influence of homogenization methods, NMAT particle size, and intermolecular forces (between pectin and nanofiller) on the film properties. Optimized films could be used in future shelf life testing to ascertain the effectiveness of these films as novel food packaging materials.
Pectin Nanoparticles Glass transition temperature Mechanical properties Water vapor permeability Films
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The authors are grateful to CONACYT (CB-223775) for their financial support. Author Rossana Villa-Rojas thanks the Tecnologico de Monterrey for the postdoctoral grant.
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