Date of Award

8-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Packaging Science

Advisor

Cooksey, Kay

Committee Member

Darby , Duncan

Committee Member

Kimmel , Robert

Abstract

Bio-based materials have garnered increasing interest as food packaging
materials because they are derived from renewable resources such
as corn starch, cellulose and sugar beet. These materials do have the disadvantage
of having
poor mechanical performance compared to non-bio based materials and their
effect on quality and shelf life of some produce is unknown.
This research studied the effect of three bio-based materials on quality
and self life of celery. Materials consist of biopolymer films and LDPE
film. The variable materials were: Polylactic Acid (PLA), a versatile
biodegradable aliphatic polyester derived from 100% renewable resources,
Ecoflex, a biodegradable aliphatic-aromatic copolyester, and Mater-Bi, a
bio-plastic derived mainly from natural renewable resources such as corn,
wheat, and potato starch.
The objective of this research was to determine if biopolymer films could
be used to package fresh celery and if they could provide an equivalent shelf life
compared to the
currently used packaging material (LDPE).
Whole (uncut) fresh celery stalks packaged into sleeves made from the
above materials and were stored at refrigeration conditions (5¡C & 95%RH).
Samples were measured on a bi-monthly basis for 2 months. The analysis included
appearance,
weight loss, total aerobic microbial count, sensory, texture, and petiole color
(outer, middle and inner sticks).
Material analysis included water vapor transmission rate (WVTR), oxygen transmission
rate (OTR), tensile strength, and elongation.

Included in

Engineering Commons

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