Polysaccharide-Based Films for Food Packaging Applications

  • K. Dharmalingam
  • R. AnandalakshmiEmail author
Part of the Materials Horizons: From Nature to Nanomaterials book series (MHFNN)


The existing food packaging materials made up of fossil fuel-based polymers pose a serious threat to the environment. This is the motivation behind the extensive research on biopolymer sources including polysaccharides, proteins and lipids so as to produce biodegradable food packaging materials. Amongst the existing biopolymer sources, commendable attention has been diverted to polysaccharide materials due to their abundancy, film-forming abilities and good gas barrier properties. Despite their desirable properties, polysaccharide-based films demonstrate a poor water barrier and mechanical properties. Further, they are expensive in comparison with conventional plastic materials which restrict the commercialisation. In this regards, an extensive research effort has been made to improve the inherent properties exhibited by the biopolymer-based films by fabricating composites, nanocomposites, blends and addition of cross-linking agents. Amongst available, starch is a kind of polysaccharides consisting of different ratios of amylose and amylopectin, which determines its property. Modified starch with other polymers/nanofillers exhibits improved film properties. In addition, cellulosic derivatives as ionic binders are of a good choice in controlling the moisture and also enhance the mechanical properties of food packaging films. Moreover, chitosan like polysaccharide exhibits an antibacterial activity which is an important property to produce films of higher shelf life and to maintain product integrity. The quest for producing low-cost biodegradable food packaging films derived from polysaccharides with better water barrier and mechanical properties is a never-ending process and demands a multidisciplinary approach to accomplish this goal. The present chapter mainly focuses on recent research accomplishments on polysaccharide-based films for food packaging applications.


Food packaging films Starch Cellulose Chitosan Shelf life Packaging films 



The authors are grateful to Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IITG), India.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Advance Energy & Materials Systems Laboratory (AEMSL), Department of Chemical EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiNorth GuwahatiIndia

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