The food-packaging potential of 12 degradable starch-polyethylene films containing cornstarch, low- or high-molecular-weight oxidized polyethylene and pro-oxidant was evaluated. Mechanical properties of the films were affected more by acids than by alkali, but the film was stable in
paraffin oil. Starch in the films did not impair heat-sealing ability. Water vapor transmission increased with increasing starch content but was not affected by oxidized polyethylene. Oxygen and carbon dioxide permeability were not affected by starch or oxidized polyethylene, but nitrogen
permeability was affected by starch. Oil oxidation was stimulated by pro-oxidant and high-molecular-weight oxidized polyethylene in films. Film starch content, oxygen permeability, and water permeability did not accelerate microbial growth, and the mechanical properties of most films were
not reduced after use. These results suggest that these degradable starch-polyethylene films have some potential use as primary food containers for some food products and storage requirements.
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Center for Crops Utilization Research, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
Publication date: November 1, 1994
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