Structure and Function of Protein-Based Edible Films and Coatings



Research and development on films and coatings made from various agricultural proteins has been conducted over the past 20 years, but is of heightened interest, due to the demand for environmentally-friendly, renewable replacements for petroleum-based polymeric materials and plastics. To address this demand, films and coatings have been made from renewable resources, such as casein, whey, soy, corn zein, collagen, wheat gluten, keratin and egg albumen. Those made from agricultural proteins create new outlets for agricultural products, byproducts and waste streams, all of which can positively impact the economics of food processes.

Due to casein’s ability to form water-resistant films, it was used for hundreds of years in paints and coatings (Gettens and Stout 1984). In the late nineteenth century, casein was converted into a hard plastic material by cross-linking it with formaldehyde. A patent for this technology was issued to Adolf Spitteler in Bavaria (Brother 1940), and it was used for the manufacture of products, such as buttons, umbrella handles, small boxes and pen cases.


Whey Protein Protein Chain Water Vapor Permeability Modify Atmosphere Packaging Wheat Gluten 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kirsten Dangaran
    • 1
  • Peggy M. Tomasula
    • 1
  • Phoebe Qi
    • 1
  1. 1.Dairy Processing and Product Research, Eastern Regional Research Center, ARSUSDA

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