Cellulose-Based Hydrogel Films for Food Packaging

  • Tabli Ghosh
  • Vimal KatiyarEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Polymers and Polymeric Composites: A Reference Series book series (POPOC)


The use of fossil-based plastic in food packaging has increased the plastic-based waste, carbon footprint, and global warming, which has led to the development of alternatives such as hydrogels for biodegradable stringent food packaging industries. Hydrogels consist of biopolymers having three dimensional networks can trap a large quantity of water and formulation of cellulose-based hydrogels have laid high impact for food packaging application with improved biodegradability, biocompatibility, mechanical properties, plasticizing effect, etc. Cellulose hydrogels can be imparted as thin layers onto the polymers to improve its wettability, appearance, degradability, and resistance towards environmental agents. Cellulose-based hydrogels are mainly formulated from cellulose, bacterial cellulose, and its derivatives. Further, use of cellulose and its derivatives with gelatin, low-methoxyl pectin, polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), polyethylene glycol (PEG), protein, etc., provide a better property for packaging food products. Various bioactive compounds such as silver nanoparticles and other antioxidants, antifungal agents can be embedded onto hydrogel films to improve its properties. Use of cellulose hydrogel as packaging material mainly depends on its hydrophilicity, swelling property, molecular weight, stability, physical, mechanical and chemical properties. Cellulose hydrogels generally consist of various chemistry of hydrogels such as physical cross-linking, chemical cross-linking, interpenetrating hydrogels, which find significant importance in biodegradable food packaging. Dry hydrogels from biopolymers can be used individually or in conjugate with others. However, use of individual polymers for making hydrogel creates problems in hydration which enhance water-polymer interactions than polymer-polymer interactions. In contrast, blending and composites of polymers help in enhancing interactions between polymer-polymer matrices than water-polymer matrices. The tailored properties of blends or composites of hydrogel can be formed through electrostatic interactions between opposite charges, formation of cross-links through covalent bond, formation of physical networks, and interpenetrating polymer networks.


Cellulose Cellulose derivatives Hydrogel Biodegradability Food packaging 


  1. 1.
    Marsh K, Bugusu B (2007) Food packaging – roles, materials, and environmental issues. J Food Sci 72:R39–R55. Scholar
  2. 2.
    Page BD, Lacroix GM (1992) Studies into the transfer and migration of phthalate esters from aluminium foil-paper laminates to butter and margarine. Food Addit Contam 9:197–212. Scholar
  3. 3.
    Triantafyllou VI, Akrida-Demertzi K, Demertzis PG (2007) A study on the migration of organic pollutants from recycled paperboard packaging materials to solid food matrices. Food Chem 101:1759–1768. Scholar
  4. 4.
    Triantafyllou VI, Akrida-Demertzi K, Demertzis PG (2002) Migration studies from recycled paper packaging materials: development of an analytical method for rapid testing. Anal Chim Acta 467:253–260. Scholar
  5. 5.
    Andrady AL, Neal MA (2009) Applications and societal benefits of plastics. Phil Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 364:1977–1984. Scholar
  6. 6.
    Tefera T, Kanampiu F, De Groote H, Hellin J, Mugo S, Kimenju S, Beyene Y, Boddupalli P, Shiferaw B, Banziger M (2011) The metal silo: an effective grain storage technology for reducing post-harvest insect and pathogen losses in maize while improving smallholder farmers’ food security in developing countries. Crop Prot 30:240–245. Scholar
  7. 7.
    Humbert S, Rossi V, Margni M, Jolliet O, Loerincik Y (2009) Life cycle assessment of two baby food packaging alternatives: glass jars vs. plastic pots. Int J Life Cycle Assess 14:95–106. Scholar
  8. 8.
    Incoronato AL, Conte A, Buonocore GG, Del Nobile MA (2011) Agar hydrogel with silver nanoparticles to prolong the shelf life of Fior di latte cheese. J Dairy Sci 94:1697–1704. Scholar
  9. 9.
    Maftoonazad N, Badii F (2009) Use of edible films and coatings to extend the shelf life of food products. Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric 1:162–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lithner D, Larsson Å, Dave G (2011) Environmental and health hazard ranking and assessment of plastic polymers based on chemical composition. Sci Total Environ 409:3309–3324. Scholar
  11. 11.
    Weber CJ, Haugaard V, Festersen R, Bertelsen G (2002) Production and applications of biobased packaging materials for the food industry. Food Addit Contam 19:172–177. Scholar
  12. 12.
    Suyatma NE, Copinet A, Tighzert L, Coma V (2004) Mechanical and barrier properties of biodegradable films made from chitosan and poly (lactic acid) blends. J Polym Environ 12:1–6. Scholar
  13. 13.
    Babu RP, O’Connor K, Seeram R (2013) Current progress on bio-based polymers and their future trends. Prog Biomater 2:8. Scholar
  14. 14.
    Vroman I, Tighzert L (2009) Biodegradable polymers. Materials 2:307–344. Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kulkarni RK, Moore EG, Hegyeli AF, Leonard F (1971) Biodegradable poly(lactic acid) polymers. J Biomed Mater Res 5:169–181. Scholar
  16. 16.
    Philip S, Keshavarz T, Roy I (2007) Polyhydroxyalkanoates: biodegradable polymers with a range of applications. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 82:233–247. Scholar
  17. 17.
    Poirier Y, Nawrath C, Somerville C (1995) Production of Polyhydroxyalkanoates, a family of biodegradable plastics and elastomers, in bacteria and plants. Nat Biotechnol 13:142–150. Scholar
  18. 18.
    Makino Y, Hirata T (1997) Modified atmosphere packaging of fresh produce with a biodegradable laminate of chitosan-cellulose and polycaprolactone. Postharvest Biol Technol 10:247–254. Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rhim J-W, Park H-M, Ha C-S (2013) Bio-nanocomposites for food packaging applications. Prog Polym Sci 38:1629–1652. Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kim H-S, Yang H-S, Kim H-J (2005) Biodegradability and mechanical properties of agro-flour–filled polybutylene succinate biocomposites. J Appl Polym Sci 97:1513–1521. Scholar
  21. 21.
    Peelman N, Ragaert P, De Meulenaer B, Adons D, Peeters R, Cardon L, Van Impe V, Devlieghere F (2013) Application of bioplastics for food packaging. Trends Food Sci Technol 32:128–141. Scholar
  22. 22.
    Cunha AG, Gandini A (2010) Turning polysaccharides into hydrophobic materials: a critical review. Part 2. Hemicelluloses, chitin/chitosan, starch, pectin and alginates. Cellulose 17:1045–1065. Scholar
  23. 23.
    Cutter CN (2006) Opportunities for bio-based packaging technologies to improve the quality and safety of fresh and further processed muscle foods. Meat Sci 74:131–142. Scholar
  24. 24.
    Farris S, Schaich KM, Liu L, Piergiovanni L, Yam KL (2009) Development of polyion-complex hydrogels as an alternative approach for the production of bio-based polymers for food packaging applications: a review. Trends Food Sci Technol 20:316–332. Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tesfaye M, Patwa R, Kommadath R, Kotecha P, Katiyar V (2016) Silk nanocrystals stabilized melt extruded poly (lactic acid) nanocomposite films: effect of recycling on thermal degradation kinetics and optimization studies. Thermochim Acta 643:41–52. Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rhim J-W, Wang L-F (2013) Mechanical and water barrier properties of agar/κ-carrageenan/konjacglucomannan ternary blend biohydrogel films. Carbohydr Polym 96:71–81. Scholar
  27. 27.
    Koenig MF, Huang SJ (1995) Biodegradable blends and composites of polycaprolactone and starch derivatives. Polymer 36:1877–1882. Scholar
  28. 28.
    Nguyen MK, Lee DS (2010) Injectable biodegradable hydrogels. Macromol Biosci 10:563–579. Scholar
  29. 29.
    Gregorova A, Saha N, Kitano T, Saha P (2015) Hydrothermal effect and mechanical stress properties of carboxymethylcellulose based hydrogel food packaging. Carbohydr Polym 117:559–568. Scholar
  30. 30.
    Niculescu M, Nistor C, Frébort I, Peč P, Mattiasson B, Csöregi E (2000) Redox hydrogel-based amperometric bienzyme electrodes for fish freshness monitoring. Anal Chem 72:1591–1597. Scholar
  31. 31.
    Langmaier F, Mokrejs P, Kolomaznik K, Mladek M (2008) Biodegradable packing materials from hydrolysates of collagen waste proteins. Waste Manag 28:549–556. Scholar
  32. 32.
    Davis G, Song JH (2006) Biodegradable packaging based on raw materials from crops and their impact on waste management. Ind Crop Prod 23:147–161. Scholar
  33. 33.
    Yoshida H, Hatakeyama T, Hatakeyama H (1993) Characterization of water in polysaccharide hydrogels by DSC. J Therm Anal Calorim 40:483–489. Scholar
  34. 34.
    Roy N, Saha N, Kitano T, Saha P (2012) Biodegradation of PVP–CMC hydrogel film: a useful food packaging material. Carbohydr Polym 89:346–353. Scholar
  35. 35.
    Pereira VA, de Arruda INQ, Stefani R (2015) Active chitosan/PVA films with anthocyanins from Brassica oleraceae (red cabbage) as time–temperature indicators for application in intelligent food packaging. Food Hydrocoll 43:180–188. Scholar
  36. 36.
    Chang C, Zhang L (2011) Cellulose-based hydrogels: present status and application prospects. Carbohydr Polym 84:40–53. Scholar
  37. 37.
    Marcì G, Mele G, Palmisano L, Pulito P, Sannino A (2006) Environmentally sustainable production of cellulose-based superabsorbent hydrogels. Green Chem 8:439–444. Scholar
  38. 38.
    Mohanty AK, Misra M, Drzal LT (2002) Sustainable bio-composites from renewable resources: opportunities and challenges in the green materials world. J Polym Environ 10:19–26. Scholar
  39. 39.
    Klemm D, Heublein B, Fink H-P, Bohn A (2005) Cellulose: fascinating biopolymer and sustainable raw material. Angew Chem Int Ed 44:3358–3393. Scholar
  40. 40.
    Dhar P, Bhardwaj U, Kumar A, Katiyar V (2014) Cellulose nanocrystals: a potential Nanofiller for food packaging applications. In: Food additives and packaging. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, pp 197–239Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Bhardwaj U, Dhar P, Kumar A, Katiyar V (2014) Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)-cellulose based Nanobiocomposites for food packaging applications. In: Food additives and packaging. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, pp 275–314Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Reese ET, Siu RG, Levinson HS (1950) The biological degradation of soluble cellulose derivatives and its relationship to the mechanism of cellulose hydrolysis. J Bacteriol 59:485PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Miles MJ, Morris VJ, Orford PD, Ring SG (1985) The roles of amylose and amylopectin in the gelation and retrogradation of starch. Carbohydr Res 135:271–281. Scholar
  44. 44.
    Fredriksson H, Silverio J, Andersson R, Eliasson AC, Åman P (1998) The influence of amylose and amylopectin characteristics on gelatinization and retrogradation properties of different starches. Carbohydr Polym 35:119–134. Scholar
  45. 45.
    Hoover R (2001) Composition, molecular structure, and physicochemical properties of tuber and root starches: a review. Carbohydr Polym 45:253–267. Scholar
  46. 46.
    Morrison WR, Laignelet B (1983) An improved colorimetric procedure for determining apparent and total amylose in cereal and other starches. J Cereal Sci 1:9–20. Scholar
  47. 47.
    McPherson AE, Jane J (1999) Comparison of waxy potato with other root and tuber starches. Carbohydr Polym 40:57–70. Scholar
  48. 48.
    Pavlovic S, Brandao PRG (2003) Adsorption of starch, amylose, amylopectin and glucose monomer and their effect on the flotation of hematite and quartz. Miner Eng 16:1117–1122. Scholar
  49. 49.
    Fuse T, Goto F (1971) Studies on utilization of agar. Agric Biol Chem 35:799–804. Scholar
  50. 50.
    Shi C, Zhu Y, Ran X, Wang M, Su Y, Cheng T (2006) Therapeutic potential of chitosan and its derivatives in regenerative Medicine1 1This work was supported by “973” programs on severe trauma (NO. 1999054205 and NO. 2005CB522605) from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. J Surg Res 133:185–192. Scholar
  51. 51.
    Jin L, Bai R (2002) Mechanisms of lead adsorption on chitosan/PVA hydrogel beads. Langmuir 18:9765–9770. Scholar
  52. 52.
    Wang T, Turhan M, Gunasekaran S (2004) Selected properties of pH-sensitive, biodegradable chitosan–poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel. Polym Int 53:911–918. Scholar
  53. 53.
    Yen M-T, Yang J-H, Mau J-L (2009) Physicochemical characterization of chitin and chitosan from crab shells. Carbohydr Polym 75:15–21. Scholar
  54. 54.
    Zhang Y, Tao L, Li S, Wei Y (2011) Synthesis of multiresponsive and dynamic chitosan-based hydrogels for controlled release of bioactive molecules. Biomacromolecules 12:2894–2901. Scholar
  55. 55.
    Stadtman ER, Levine RL (2003) Free radical-mediated oxidation of free amino acids and amino acid residues in proteins. Amino Acids 25:207–218. Scholar
  56. 56.
    Frushour BG, Koenig JL (1975) Raman scattering of collagen, gelatin, and elastin. Biopolymers 14:379–391. Scholar
  57. 57.
    Guan YL, Shao L, Yao KD (1996) A study on correlation between water state and swelling kinetics of chitosan-based hydrogels. J Appl Polym Sci 61:2325–2335.<2325::AID-APP11>3.0.COCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Myung D, Waters D, Wiseman M, Duhamel PE, Noolandi J, Ta CN, Frank CW (2008) Progress in the development of interpenetrating polymer network hydrogels. Polym Adv Technol 19:647–657. Scholar
  59. 59.
    Farris S, Schaich KM, Liu L, Cooke PH, PiergiovanniL YKL (2011) Gelatin–pectin composite films from polyion-complex hydrogels. Food Hydrocoll 25:61–70. Scholar
  60. 60.
    Mansur HS, Sadahira CM, Souza AN, Mansur AAP (2008) FTIR spectroscopy characterization of poly (vinyl alcohol) hydrogel with different hydrolysis degree and chemically crosslinked with glutaraldehyde. Mater Sci Eng C 28:539–548. Scholar
  61. 61.
    Mansur HS, Oréfice RL, Mansur AAP (2004) Characterization of poly(vinyl alcohol)/poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels and PVA-derived hybrids by small-angle X-ray scattering and FTIR spectroscopy. Polymer 45:7193–7202. Scholar
  62. 62.
    Capitani D, Crescenzi V, Segre AL (2001) Water in hydrogels. An NMR study of water/polymer interactions in weakly cross-linked chitosan networks. Macromolecules 34:4136–4144. Scholar
  63. 63.
    An J, Zhang M, Wang S, Tang J (2008) Physical, chemical and microbiological changes in stored green asparagus spears as affected by coating of silver nanoparticles-PVP. LWT – Food Sci Technol 41:1100–1107. Scholar
  64. 64.
    Haaf F, Sanner A, Straub F (1985) Polymers of N-vinylpyrrolidone: synthesis, characterization and uses. Polym J 17:143–152. Scholar
  65. 65.
    Harvath L, Falk W, Leonard EJ (1980) Rapid quantitation of neutrophil chemotaxis: use of a polyvinylpyrrolidone-free polycarbonate membrane in a multiwell assembly. J Immunol Methods 37:39–45. Scholar
  66. 66.
    Gordon RS (1958) The preparation of radioactive polyvinylpyrrolidone for medical use. J Polym Sci 31:191–192. Scholar
  67. 67.
    Du X, He J (2008) Facile size-controllable syntheses of highly monodisperse polystyrene nano- and microspheres by polyvinylpyrrolidone-mediated emulsifier-free emulsion polymerization. J Appl Polym Sci 108:1755–1760. Scholar
  68. 68.
    Bergmann M, Flance IJ, Cruz PT, Klam N, Aronson PR, Joshi RA, Blumenthal HT (1962) Thesaurosis due to inhalation of hair spray. N Engl J Med 266:750–755. Scholar
  69. 69.
    Zhao C, Cheng H, Jiang P, Yao Y, Han J (2014) Preparation of lutein-loaded particles for improving solubility and stability by Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) as an emulsion-stabilizer. Food Chem 156:123–128. Scholar
  70. 70.
    Ough CS (1960) Gelatin and Polyvinylpyrrolidone compared for fining red wines. Am J Enol Vitic 11:170–173Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Biswal DR, Singh RP (2004) Characterisation of carboxymethyl cellulose and polyacrylamide graft copolymer. Carbohydr Polym 57:379–387. Scholar
  72. 72.
    Mu C, Guo J, Li X, Lin W, Li D (2012) Preparation and properties of dialdehydecarboxymethyl cellulose crosslinked gelatin edible films. Food Hydrocoll 27:22–29. Scholar
  73. 73.
    Muppalla SR, Kanatt SR, Chawla SP, Sharma A (2014) Carboxymethyl cellulose–polyvinyl alcohol films with clove oil for active packaging of ground chicken meat. Food Packag Shelf Life 2:51–58. Scholar
  74. 74.
    Almasi H, Ghanbarzadeh B, Entezami AA (2010) Physicochemical properties of starch–CMC–nanoclay biodegradable films. Int J Biol Macromol 46:1–5. Scholar
  75. 75.
    Oun AA, Rhim J-W (2015) Preparation and characterization of sodium carboxymethyl cellulose/cotton linter cellulose nanofibril composite films. Carbohydr Polym 127:101–109. Scholar
  76. 76.
    Alves V, Costa N, Hilliou L, Larotonda F, Gonçalves M, Sereno A, Coelhoso I (2006) Design of biodegradable composite films for food packaging. Desalination 199:331–333. Scholar
  77. 77.
    Iwata T (2015) Biodegradable and bio-based polymers: future prospects of eco-friendly plastics. Angew Chem Int Ed 54:3210–3215. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia

Personalised recommendations