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Starch-based biodegradable active packaging with Euphorbia umbellata (PAX) Bruyns bioactive extract


Biodegradable films are an excellent alternative to using non-biodegradable materials. Plant extracts are rich in antioxidant and antimicrobial components and can be used as components in active packaging to improve food preservation. This study demonstrated that the ethyl acetate fraction of the crude bark extract of Euphorbia umbellata presented high amounts of phenolic compounds (515.81 ± 29.61 mg of galic acid per gram of fraction) with concentration-dependent antioxidant potential (DPPH—IC50 1.95 ± 0.01 μg/ml; ABTS•+—IC50 1.40 ± 0.15 µg/ml; FRAP–2,680.05 ± 0.02 µmol of trolox per gram of fraction), and antimicrobial activities against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli (inhibition halo diameter larger than 8 mm). The addition of this fraction into biodegradable starch-based films allowed the formation of an active matrix, with minor mechanical changes when the ethyl acetate fraction was used at 2.5 and 5.0% (w/w), registering tensile strength results of 29.5 ± 4.0 MPa for inert film; 29.5 ± 4.0 MPa for 2.5% (w/w) of E. umbellata ethyl acetate extract, and 25.1 ± 1.9 MPa for 5% (w/w) of E. umbellata ethyl acetate extract. A heterogeneous microstructure in the presence of ethyl acetate extract resulted in lack of homogeneity and rough surface of the films, maintaining important antioxidant and antibacterial activities. This material can be considered as an alternative for production and application as biodegradable and active food packaging.

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The authors would like to express their gratitude to Multi-user laboratory (CLABMU)” of the State University of Ponta Grossa (UEPG), for technical support. We are also grateful to Dr. Sean Stroud for checking and correcting the English version of the text.


The authors would like to express their gratitude to CAPES (scholarship), FINEP-CT/Infra (Research Grant 02/2013), and Fundação Araucária (convênio nº 09/2017) for financial support.

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MRR, BML, BRM, KAA, and ACMOC were responsible for conceiving the idea, carried out the experiments and wrote the manuscript, LAE, LRO, AA and AN assisted in the realization of experiments and discussion of results. FLB and JBO supervised the work, corrected and edited the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Flávio L. Beltrame.

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Rosas, M.R., Lemes, B.M., Minozzo, B.R. et al. Starch-based biodegradable active packaging with Euphorbia umbellata (PAX) Bruyns bioactive extract. J Package Technol Res 5, 97–106 (2021).

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  • Antimicrobial
  • Antioxidant
  • Cassava starch
  • Janaúba
  • Natural products
  • Packaging materials