Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Food Technology

Committee Member

Kay Cooksey, Ph.D., Committee Chair

Committee Member

Terri Bruce, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Duncan Darby, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Aaron Brody, Ph.D.


Antimicrobial food packaging may extend shelf life, reduce spoilage, maintain food quality and eliminate foodborne pathogens in ready-to-eat (RTE) deli meat. Nisin is a polypeptide with natural antimicrobial activity against gram-positive microorganisms. This food additive is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in the United States. In order to combat Listeria monocytogenes, continued good manufacturing practices, continued proper handling by food workers, and additional secondary safety measures such as antimicrobial packaging are necessary. However, current research for antimicrobial packaging is in preliminary stages and is primarily based on theoretical lab scale testing. Antimicrobial coatings containing nisin were developed and studied. Diffusion was successfully measured by agar well diffusion method and high performance liquid chromotography. Microscopy was examined as a new method for tracking nisin diffusion in the food and films and found to be useful. A food challenge study on turkey bologna demonstrated that the coatings were able to inhibit a L. monocytogenes cocktail compared to the control coating. In addition, antimicrobial extruded films containing nisin and bovine albumin were developed and tested for antimicrobial activity. The results demonstrated that there was significant increased inhibition of M. luteus when the bovine albumin was used in combination with the nisin Z. Also, there was a significant difference between the type of polymer and the amount of inhibition of M. luteus. This research is directed toward the development of an antimicrobial vacuum skin package for RTE meat. It provides new and necessary information for future commercialization of antimicrobial packaging.