Essential oils as insect repellent agents in food packaging: a review


Active food packaging is currently of high demand in food industries to provide protections to food. Food packaging is not only used to store and protect food from the environment, but also to provide functional values with the incorporation of active agent. Essential oils (EOs) extracted from a variety of plants represent active ingredients of natural origin which provide numerous benefits to food, aromatherapy, pharmaceutical, and food packaging industries due to their functional properties. Numerous researches have been carried out in developing active food packaging such as insect repellent packaging containing essential oils. Insect repellent packaging could create safety measures by repelling insect from exterior environment or the inhibition of larvae from food within. In this paper, different application of EOs on different types of food packaging, applications, processing methods, migration of active compounds and performance of insect repellency are reviewed. Future perspectives and applications of insect repellence using safe, natural and more effective strategies are also discussed. EOs as the active insect repellent agents in food packaging offer great opportunities to protect the quality of food. Some important factors such as legislative concerns (e.g. toxicity test, migration of active substances from packaging materials), economics, and further study on the release period of active agent to the environment should be considered to successfully implement insect repellent agents in food packaging.

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The author wishes to acknowledge Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for financial support through the Malaysian Research Universities Network (MRUN) under project no. RJ130000.7851.4L868.

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Correspondence to Ida Idayu Muhamad.

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Marsin, A.M., Muhamad, I.I., Anis, S.N.S. et al. Essential oils as insect repellent agents in food packaging: a review. Eur Food Res Technol 246, 1519–1532 (2020).

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  • Essential oil
  • Insect repellence
  • Food packaging
  • Active agent