Scientists from Pennsylvania State University (USA) have developed a modification of the plastic film with an additional antibacterial layer. It is a substance called pullulan, which contains lauric arginate, a natural antibiotic. Both pullulan and lauric arginate have previously been approved for use in the food industry.
The main difficulty was obtaining a version of pullulan that could be attached to polyethylene without losing the basic properties of the latter - water resistance, transparency and strength. By default, both pullulan and polyethylene are strong hydrophobes, so creating an adhesive bond has become a very non-trivial task. As a result, scientists limited themselves to applying an antibacterial coating to only one side of the film.
The resulting composite was used as packaging for raw beef chunks, raw chicken breast and ready-to-eat turkey breast. All meat samples were pre-inoculated with toxic bacteria E. coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. After 28 days of storage in the refrigerator, a significant reduction in the population of all introduced microbes was recorded (the exact percentage of the reduction in the number of microorganisms is not yet known).
Thus, the invention will make it possible to replace conventional cling film with an antibacterial one and improve the safety of food. We are not talking about complete disinfection, but this will help reduce risks and reduce the need for additional processing of products.