Incorporating Zataria multiflora Boiss. essential oil and sodium bentonite nano-clay open a new perspective to use zein films as bioactive packaging materials.Food Sci Technol Int. 2017 Oct; 23(7):582-596.FS
Active zein films with different levels of Zataria multiflora Boiss. essential oil were produced successfully. To enhance properties of this biopolymer for food packaging applications, sodium bentonite clay was used at two levels (2 and 4%). The results indicated that the addition of Z. multiflora Boiss. essential oil caused a reduction in tensile strength and Young's modulus and slight increase in the percent of elongation at break of the films. Maximum solubility in water and water vapor permeability was observed by incorporation of 10% Z. multiflora Boiss. essential oil in the zein matrix. Transmission electron microscopy micrographs of zein film were verified by the exfoliation of the layers of sodium bentonite clay in the zein matrix. Stronger films with lower water vapor permeability and water solubility were evident of good distribution of sodium bentonite clay in the zein matrix. According to the results, 2% sodium bentonite clay was selected for evaluation of nano active film properties. Water vapor permeability, UV light barrier, tensile strength, and Young's modulus values of active films were improved by incorporation of 2% sodium bentonite clay. The antibacterial activity of different contents of Z. multiflora Boiss. essential oil in vapor phase demonstrated that use of Z. multiflora Boiss. essential oil in the liquid phase was more effective than in vapor phase. The antibacterial zein-based films showed that active zein film with 5 and 10% Z. multiflora Boiss. essential oil had reductions of 1.68 log and 2.99 log, respectively, against Listeria monocytogenes and 1.39 and 3.07 log against Escherichia coli. Nano active zein film containing 10% Z. multiflora Boiss. essential oil and 2% sodium bentonite clay showed better antibacterial properties against L. monocytogenes (3.23 log) and E. coli (3.17 log).