Edible carrot films display food packaging potential

Barrier properties exhibited by carrot-based edible films demonstrate potential for their use as packaging for a variety of food types, according to recent research from China.
The study performed at Jilin University aimed to produce composite edible film with carrot puree and to examine how levels of other components – i.e. carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), corn starch and gelatin – affected its mechanical and barrier properties.
The research led by Xinwei Wang was based on carrots because of their nutritional value and the fact that few vegetable-based products had been developed.
Carrots contain water, protein cellulosic substances and pectic – and adding these components could lead to the formation of a cost-effective and biodegradable film, said the researchers.
“Obtaining films with good oxygen permeability (OP) and desirable film mechanical properties would be an indication of the possible use of carrot as an alternative source of packaging. Carrot films may have a potential to be commercial because they can be used as food or food packaging”, they added. The study was published in the journal Food and Bioproducts Processing.

The researchers noted that varying the concentration of the components altered the properties of the film. A plasticizer was added after it was found the carrot films were too brittle, and film thicknesses were tested to the nearest 0.001mm.

The study found that tensile strength and the ability to stretch were affected by the film components. The addition of CMC, gelatin and particularly corn starch, increased the tensile strength.

Impeding moisture transfer is a major function of edible films. Overall, the research showed that carrot films have intermediate water barrier properties compared with other edible films, and are good oxygen barriers.
The results suggest that carrot puree films could be suitable as edible packaging or wraps for certain foods.