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Food Preservation

The cationic chemical structure of chitosan provides an ability to bind directly to the outer cell membrane of microorganisms, providing antimicrobial activity without the use of antibiotic chemicals [1]. Furthermore, the long chemical structure of chitosan allows simple film formation by dip coating or spraying of solutions. Chitosan is widely used for the preservation of foods by providing a barrier to microbes which exist in the environment [2]. Edible food coatings which contain chitosan have been widely researched and are currently used industrially [3,4]. It has been shown that chitosan provides extended shelf life while maintaining or improving sensory quality in many foods. In one study, research on chitosan-coated strawberries showed that dip coating strawberries with chitosan was able to extend shelf life and inhibit microbial growth [5]. Additional studies have shown similar effects on other fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and liquid products [6].


Today consumers are more wary than ever before of the effects of food preservatives can have on their health and the environment. Chitosan coatings provide an exciting and green opportunity for food companies due to chitosan being non-toxic, biocompatible, natural, and biodegradable while showing excellent performance at extending the shelf life of many foods.





[1] Rabea, Entsar I., et al. “Chitosan as antimicrobial agent: applications and mode of action.” Biomacromolecules 4.6 (2003): 1457-1465.

[2] Dutta, P. K., et al. “Perspectives for chitosan based antimicrobial films in food applications.” Food chemistry 114.4 (2009): 1173-1182.

[3] Elsabee, Maher Z., and Entsar S. Abdou. “Chitosan based edible films and coatings: a review.” Materials Science and Engineering: C 33.4 (2013): 1819-1841.

[4] Alishahi, Alireza, and Mohammed Aïder. “Applications of chitosan in the seafood industry and aquaculture: a review.” Food and Bioprocess Technology 5.3 (2012): 817-830.

[5] Campaniello, D., et al. “Chitosan: Antimicrobial activity and potential applications for preserving minimally processed strawberries.” Food Microbiology 25.8 (2008): 992-1000.

[6] No, H. K., et al. “Applications of chitosan for improvement of quality and shelf life of foods: a review.” Journal of food science 72.5 (2007): R87-R100.

Aider, Mohammed. “Chitosan application for active bio-based films production and potential in the food industry: Review.” LWT-Food Science and Technology 43.6 (2010): 837-842.

Zhang, Hongyin, Renping Li, and Weimin Liu. “Effects of chitin and its derivative chitosan on postharvest decay of fruits: a review.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 12.2 (2011): 917-934.

Hafdani, F. Nejati, and N. Sadeghinia. “A review on application of chitosan as a natural antimicrobial.” World academy of science, Engineering and Technology 50 (2011): 252-256.

Campaniello, D., et al. “Chitosan: Antimicrobial activity and potential applications for preserving minimally processed strawberries.” Food Microbiology 25.8 (2008): 992-1000.


Lim, Sang-Hoon, and Samuel M. Hudson. “Review of chitosan and its derivatives as antimicrobial agents and their uses as textile chemicals.” Journal of Macromolecular Science, Part C: Polymer Reviews 43.2 (2003): 223-269.

Goy, Rejane C., Douglas de Britto, and Odilio BG Assis. “A review of the antimicrobial activity of chitosan.” Polímeros 19.3 (2009): 241-247.


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