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Fernandez A.,Authors Are With Institute Of Agroquimica Y Tecnologia Of Alimentos | Soriano E.,Authors Are With Institute Of Agroquimica Y Tecnologia Of Alimentos | Hernandez-Munoz P.,Authors Are With Institute Of Agroquimica Y Tecnologia Of Alimentos | Gavara R.,Authors Are With Institute Of Agroquimica Y Tecnologia Of Alimentos
Journal of Food Science | Year: 2010

Silver ion migration and antimicrobial activity of PLA (polylactic acid-polylactide)/silver zeolite composites were investigated. Films prepared by solution-casting/solvent evaporation, or by melt-mixing/compression molding were compared. Silver migration to food simulants and TSB (tryptone soy broth) was quantified at different temperatures. Antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli was measured following the Japanese Industrial Standard JIS Z 2801. All types of PLA/silver zeolite composites released Ag+ ions. A more intense ionic exchange with the zeolites and a significant, but low, antimicrobial activity in solution were found in cast films. To attain antimicrobial effects, however, migrated ions ought to be in the range of the legal limit of 0.05 mg Ag+/kg food stated by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). Silver migration and antimicrobial activity were sensitive to the methodology chosen to process the PLA films, the ionic strength of the medium, and the ion motility in the polymer matrix.Practical Application: Silver exchanged zeolites incorporated in food contact polymers are gaining importance as antimicrobial agents. Migration of silver ions from polymer matrices, however, is legally restricted. Therefore a compromise between silver migration and antimicrobial activity needs to be critically analyzed to validate novel materials in food packaging applications. © 2010 Institute of Food Technologists®.

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