|M.Sc Student||Rozenblit Boris|
|Subject||A New Volatile Antimicribial Agent-Releasing Patch for|
Preserving Fresh Foods
|Department||Department of Biotechnology and Food Engineering||Supervisor||Professor Boaz Mizrahi|
|Full Thesis text|
Active packaging that releases antibacterial volatile oils has been one of the most promising approaches to protecting fresh food and increasing its shelf life. Existing strategies, however, are limited by the need to adjust packaging material to suit the particular antimicrobial and environmental conditions. Those strategies are relatively complicated and require some contact between the antimicrobial component and the food product resulting in undesirable effect such as off flavor and taste. Here we describe a new patch made of absorbent polymers and two volatile antimicrobial compounds, carvacrol and tea tree oil (TTO). After assessing several different polymers, microcrystalline cellulose was chosen as the absorbent matrix due to its high level of absorption, around 90% of its weight. Carvacrol and TTO were released into the head compartment in a controlled manner, reaching a plateau within 20 minutes. Both carvacrol and TTO patches exhibited marked antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Alternaria alternate, Penicillium commune and moderate activity against Pseudomonas putida. Visual and mechanical evaluation of strawberries and pumpkin specimens showed that carvacrol patches demonstrated the best effect on increasing shelf life compared to TTO and empty patches. The versatility of the patch, the simplicity of its production and its effectiveness demonstrated here make it very attractive as a new platform to extend the shelf life of fresh foods.