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Antimicrobial Packaging and Wasabi

 Advances in Antimicrobial Food Packaging

Advances in Antimicrobial Food Packaging with Nanotechnology and Natural Antimicrobials

I came across this article while researching new developments in the ever growing realm of potential uses for wasabi.  I am working on a series of in-depth articles on some of the recent studies pertaining the health benefits of wasabi, including cancer fighting properties and hair growth studies. Along with these exciting developments, I’ve also found—through the following article—that Wasabi could potentially be used to create antimicrobial packaging.  

I found this paper from the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition Engineering particularly interesting. It discusses the strength of Wasabi’s antimicrobial properties. And while wasabi may not be the first choice of food packaging innovators to use due to its cost, I still thought this research was noteworthy enough to share here in our growing databank of Wasabi news and information.

The following are excerpts from the article. To get a more in-depth look at antimicrobial packaging and Wasabi, check out the full article here


Antimicrobial Packaging is an area of emerging interest and it is rapidly advancing with the application of nanotechnology and natural antimicrobials. This review describes recent research and developments in antimicrobial food packaging by application of natural antimicrobials and nanomaterials in food packaging materials. In addition to the development made in antimicrobial packaging by nanotechnology, global market and regulation aspects are also discussed. Even though rapid research and development are made in this area, successful application is limited. Besides the research on application of nanotechnology to food contact material there is need for toxicology studies of different types of nanomaterials.

Keywords: Nanotechnology, Nanoparticle, Liposome, Antimicrobial food packaging, Natural antimicrobials

Cite this paper: Sanjaysinh Makwana, Ruplal Choudhary, Punit Kohli, Advances in Antimicrobial Food Packaging with Nanotechnology and Natural Antimicrobials, International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition Engineering, Vol. 5 No. 4, 2015, pp. 169-175. doi: 10.5923/

Article Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Antimicrobial Packaging
  3. Natural Antimicrobials

    3.1. Nisin

    3.2. Chitosan

    3.3. Acids and Their Salts

  1. Promising Natural Antimicrobials

    4.1. Plant and Spice Essential Oils

    4.2. Pomegranate Peel Extract

    4.3. Grape Seed Extract

    4.4. Mexican Tarragon

    4.5. Olive Extract

    4.6. Wasabi Extract

  1. Nanotechnology Driven Antimicrobial Packaging

    5.1. Inorganic Nanoparticles in Food Packaging

    5.1.1. Zinc Oxide Nanoparticle

    5.1.2. Silver Nanoparticle

    5.1.3. Copper Nanoparticle

    5.1.4. Titanium Oxide Nanoparticles

    5.2. Nanoscale Liposome in Food and Food Packaging

  1. Government Regulation of Nanotechnology in Food
  2.    Conclusions


Wasabi Extract

Volatile allyl isothiocyanate (AIT) which is reported as active agent in antimicrobial packaging is the main active antimicrobial component of wasabi extract. The minimum inhibition concentration (MIC) of AIT against Yersinia enterocolitica, and L monocytogenes was in the range of 14 to 125 ppm at 10-40 C (Han J H, 2005).  At higher relative  humidity, AIT exhibited stringer antimicrobial activity.

  1. Introduction

The natural deterioration of fresh or processed foods is caused by their interaction with a variety of elements including water or gases, by contamination with bacteria, yeast, or fungi, or by infestation by insects and rodents. Also, food is a first-rate medium through which human pathogens can spread easily. Food packaging performs four basic functions: protection, containment, information, and ease of use. Of these functions, protection of food from invasion of undesirable pathogenic or spoilage microorganisms is considered the most important. Advancement in food packaging is closely related with advancement in material science and processing technologies. With the advancement in science and technology, various packaging technologies have been developed such as metal can, can with aluminum alloys, heat shrinkable polyvinyl chloride, controlled atmosphere packaging, modified atmosphere packaging, vacuum packaging, active packaging and antimicrobial packaging. (Cutter, 2002). One of the approaches which can play an important role to ensure microbial safety of the packaged food is the antimicrobial packaging. The advancement of nanotechnology may enable the antimicrobial packaging as a successful application leading to regular use in food packaging.

Nanotechnology can play an important role in the development of food packaging. One of the applications includes incorporation of nanocomposite into the food package to improve the barrier property (Restuccia et al., 2010). There has been over $17.8 billion investment across the globe in 2010 for research and development in nanotechnology (Sargent Jr., 2013) and it is estimated that by 2020 it will grow to $3 trillion (Roco, 2011). In the area of food nanotechnology research and development, the most active area is packaging. Interesting applications of nanotechnology in food packaging include development of intelligent packaging and active packaging, including antimicrobial packaging, as well as nanotechnology for barrier and mechanical reinforcement (iRAP Inc., 2011; Duncan, 2011).

  1. Antimicrobial Packaging

Active packaging is an innovative food packaging concept that helps to meet new trends in the area of food distribution. Active packaging includes additives that absorb undesirable component from food such as oxygen, ethylene, moisture and odor to enhance the quality and shelf life of the food (Prasad and Kochhar, 2014). Active packaging also includes the release of antimicrobials and preservative into the food to enhance microbial quality and safety of the food. Different types of active packaging are controlled atmosphere packaging, modified atmosphere packaging, and antimicrobial packaging. Among these, the antimicrobial packaging research is getting more attention of researchers because of its critical role in improving microbial safety and extending shelf life of food products. The techniques of antimicrobial research involve incorporating or coating packaging materials with antimicrobial agents for slow release in to the packaged food system to inhibit the growth of microorganisms to maintain food quality and safety (Mauriello et al., 2005).

The slow release of antimicrobials in to the food system by their incorporation in to the food packaging is more efficient than direct addition in to the food because it may react with other food components and results in loss of its activity. For example, the antibacterial activity of silver ion was strongly reduced by the protein rich food (Ilg1 & Kreyenschmidt, 2011) because it has high binding potential to the cysteine, methionine, lysine and arginine (Gruen, 1975). Therefore use of antimicrobial packaging film may be more efficient which also ensures residual activity over longer period of time during transportation and storage.

  1. Natural Antimicrobials

In recent years because of government regulations and health concerns there has been rising attention towards the use of natural antimicrobial for food safety application. For example Nisin, different plant extracts i.e. cinnamaldehyde, allyl isothiocyanate, oregano and carvacrol are gaining more and more attention for food safety application. In this section, we have discussed some of the prominent antimicrobials being researched in antimicrobial packaging.


Antimicrobial food packaging play an important role in reducing the risk of post processing pathogen contamination, as well as extending the shelf life of food. It is gaining global interest across the food industry and research community as it provides quality and safe food. Currently the development and commercialization of antimicrobial food packaging is limited because of availability of safe antimicrobials, cost involved in use of natural antimicrobials and regulatory concerns. There is a great need to exploit nanotechnology to develop cheap, practically feasible antimicrobial coating and packaging that can withstand the environment present in the food system without affecting the food quality and sensory attributes. More research is required in safety assessment of engineered nanoparticles being targeted to use directly into food or in food-contact surfaces such as food processing and handling equipment or food packaging materials so that enough data is available for the regulatory agencies to draft universal safety policy on use of nanomaterials intended to be in food contact.

 You may also like our compilation of wasabi research and articles, see our Wasabi reference directory 


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