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 . 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 . 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 . Additional studies have shown similar effects on other fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and liquid products .
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.
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