Smart Food Freshness Film Using Black Currant and Cinnamon Ingredients

Jenn Hoskins
23rd June, 2024

Smart Food Freshness Film Using Black Currant and Cinnamon Ingredients

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Xiamen University Malaysia developed a new food packaging film that changes color to indicate food freshness
  • The film uses black currant anthocyanins, which change color based on pH levels, to show different stages of food spoilage
  • Despite losing some antioxidant activity, the film effectively changes color from greyish-brown (fresh) to khaki (beginning spoilage) to dark green (spoiled)
In recent years, the demand for intelligent food packaging systems has surged, driven by consumers' need for real-time monitoring of food freshness and safety. Traditional packaging methods, designed merely to extend shelf life, often fall short of these dynamic consumer requirements. The current study from Xiamen University Malaysia[1] addresses this gap by developing a versatile halochromic indicator film through the solvent casting method. This innovative film integrates black currant anthocyanin and cinnamon essential oil-loaded Pickering emulsion into a starch/gelatin matrix, offering a promising solution for real-time spoilage detection. The study's primary objective was to create an indicator film that could visually indicate the freshness of food based on pH changes. Anthocyanins, natural pigments found in black currants, were chosen for their pH-sensitive properties. These pigments change color in response to different pH levels, making them ideal for monitoring food spoilage. Cinnamon essential oil, known for its antimicrobial properties, was incorporated to enhance the film's functionality. Interestingly, the combination of anthocyanin and essential oil led to a decrease in antioxidant activity, which dropped from 73.23 ± 2.17 to 28.87 ± 2.50 mg Trolox equivalent/g sample. This unexpected result was attributed to robust intermolecular interactions among the film components, as revealed by Fourier transform infrared analyses. Despite this decrease in antioxidant activity, the film displayed distinctive color changes at different stages of fish spoilage: greyish-brown for fresh, khaki for the onset of decomposition, and dark green for spoiled. This color change provides a clear and immediate visual indication of food freshness. The lack of discernible antimicrobial properties in the composite film against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli was another notable finding. This contrasts with earlier studies that successfully incorporated antimicrobial agents into packaging materials. For instance, a study[2] demonstrated that shikonin-adsorbed cellulose paper enhanced antioxidant activity and thermal stability while effectively monitoring the freshness of fish and pork. Similarly, another study[3] developed an intelligent freshness indicator using black carrot anthocyanins in a starch matrix, which showed excellent color stability and high correlation with milk spoilage indicators. Despite the absence of antimicrobial properties, the current study's indicator film still holds significant potential for real-time food spoilage monitoring. The color changes observed in the film are consistent with findings from previous research[4], where a pH-sensing indicator based on bacterial nanocellulose and black carrot anthocyanins displayed distinguishable color changes during different stages of fish spoilage. The strong correlation between color changes and spoilage indicators, such as bacterial count and total volatile basic nitrogen, underscores the reliability of these intelligent packaging solutions. Moreover, the current study’s approach aligns with the broader trend towards developing environmentally friendly and cost-effective packaging materials. Previous research[5] highlighted the need for affordable and eco-friendly color indicators for monitoring food quality. The nanocellulose/chitosan-based film coated with polylactic acid developed in that study demonstrated significant color changes in response to beef spoilage, similar to the current study's findings with fish samples. In summary, the study from Xiamen University Malaysia contributes to the growing body of research on intelligent food packaging by developing a versatile halochromic indicator film. Although the integration of anthocyanin and essential oil resulted in decreased antioxidant activity and no detectable antimicrobial properties, the film's ability to provide real-time visual indications of food spoilage remains a significant achievement. The findings offer valuable insights for the efficient design of multifunctional packaging materials, guiding future research and development in the food industry.



Main Study

1) A starch/gelatin-based Halochromic film with black currant anthocyanin and Nanocellulose-stabilized cinnamon essential oil Pickering emulsion: Towards real-time Salmon freshness assessment.

Published 20th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Preparation of a shikonin-based pH-sensitive color indicator for monitoring the freshness of fish and pork.

3) Development of an easy-to-use colorimetric pH label with starch and carrot anthocyanins for milk shelf life assessment.

4) A novel pH-sensing indicator based on bacterial cellulose nanofibers and black carrot anthocyanins for monitoring fish freshness.

5) Development of a polylactic acid-coated nanocellulose/chitosan-based film indicator for real-time monitoring of beef spoilage.

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