Encapsulation Systems for Antimicrobial Food Packaging Components: An Update
Antimicrobial active packaging has emerged as an effective technology to reduce microbial growth in food products increasing both their shelf-life and microbial safety for the consumer while maintaining their quality and sensorial properties. In the last years, a great effort has been made to develop more efficient, long-lasting and eco-friendly antimicrobial materials by improving the performance of the incorporated antimicrobial substances. With this purpose, more effective antimicrobial compounds of natural origin such as bacteriocins, bacteriophages and essential oils have been preferred over synthetic ones and new encapsulation strategies such as emulsions, core-shell nanofibres, cyclodextrins and liposomes among others, have been applied in order to protect these antimicrobials from degradation or volatilization while trying to enable a more controlled release and sustained antimicrobial action. On that account, this article provides an overview of the types of antimicrobials agents used and the most recent trends on the strategies used to encapsulate the antimicrobial agents for their stable inclusion in the packaging materials. Moreover, a thorough discussion regarding the benefits of each encapsulation technology as well as their application in food products is presented.