Influence of medicinal and aromatic plants into risk assessment of a new bioactive packaging based on polylactic acid (PLA)

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A new biodegradable antioxidant active packaging for food applications based on antioxidants from medicinal and aromatic plants incorporated into a polylactic acid matrix was designed and developed. Melt blending processing technique was applied to prepare polylactic acid films loaded by sage and lemon balm leaves. Antioxidant properties of developed active films were investigated using the following methods: 2,2′-azino-bis(3- ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid), 2,2-diphenyl-1-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl)hydrazyl and a home-made generator of hydroxyl radicals. In addition, reducing power and total phenolic content of polylactic acid films were checked. The results of antioxidant capacity showed that percentage of hydroxylation for active film with lemon balm and sage was 55.5% ± 0.1% and 67.4% ± 0.3%, respectively. The reducing power of active films increased 8 times in comparison to the blank samples. Moreover, extensive investigation of influence of sage and lemon balm leaves on material safety and type of migrants was performed using migration assays. The composition of both non-volatile and volatile compounds of different active packaging films was compared with neat polylactic acid film. Three different food simulants such as 95% (v/v) ethanol, 10% (v/v) ethanol and 3% (w/v) acetic acid were checked. It was shown that the addition of sage and lemon balm leaves into a polylactic acid structure decreased the migration of both linear and cyclic polylactic acid oligomers, currently not legislated by European Union. Besides, total absence or decrease of migration of volatile compounds were observed when using the active films. Both thermal and mechanical properties of films were also evaluated.