Properties of antimicrobial plastics containing traditional food preservatives

Jari Vartiainen (Corresponding Author), Eija Skyttä, Jouni Enqvist, Raija Ahvenainen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Traditional food preservatives, sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, potassium sorbate and sodium lactate, were incorporated into synthetic plastics, low‐density polyethylene (LDPE), poly(maleic acid‐co‐olefine), polystyrene (PS) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), aimed at producing antimicrobial packaging material for foodstuffs. The study was undertaken on plaques (thickness 2 mm) and films (thickness 70–120 µm), whose antimicrobial test results clearly differed. Plaques containing 15% sodium nitrite inhibited both Aspergillus niger and Bacillus subtilis, whereas the same concentration of sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate had activity only against B. subtilis. Sodium lactate‐containing samples did not have any antimicrobial activity and none of the samples inhibited Escherichia coli. Antimicrobial substances added into PS and PET produced the strongest activities; however, due to the brittle structure of these materials, they were not tested further. Thus, more thorough tests for antimicrobial activity, migration and oxygen and water vapour permeability were carried out using LDPE films with 2.5–15% sodium benzoate and sodium nitrite. The effects of both substances on permeability properties were negligible. Although the total migration into food simulants measured from the films in many cases exceeded the limit value of 10 mg/dm2, no antimicrobial activity was observed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)223-229
    Number of pages7
    JournalPackaging Technology and Science
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2003
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • plastics
    • antimicrobial properties
    • food packaging

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