The influence of electron beam irradiation of antimicrobial-coated LDPE/polyamide films on antimicrobial activity and film properties

J. Han, M. E. Castell-Perez, R. G. Moreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


We evaluated the effects of ionizing radiation (1-3 kGy) and incorporation of antimicrobials on the functional properties of low-density polyethylene (LDPE)/polyamide films. We established the antimicrobial effectiveness of several coatings of FDA-approved antimicrobial compounds including sorbic acid, carvacrol, trans-cinnamaldehyde, thymol and rosemary oleoresin using selected food pathogen surrogates. The antimicrobial coatings were applied to one side of the LDPE films and dried. Films were irradiated using a 10 MeV linear electron beam accelerator at room temperature. All films showed inhibition zones in an agar diffusion test against Listeria innocua ATCC 33090 and Escherichia coli ATCC 884. In the liquid culture test, the antimicrobials significantly (p ≤ 0.05) reduced the specific growth rate of L. innocua by 3.8-8.5%, and decreased final cell concentration of both strains by 5.7-14.6% and 7.2-16.8%, respectively. All active compounds retained the antimicrobial activity when exposed to 1-3 kGy. Neither the presence of active compound nor dose affected the film's tensile strength and toughness. Additionally, films became more ductile and had improved moisture barrier functionality. Film's oxygen permeability was not affected by either treatment. Results are an initial step toward the development of self-sterile active packaging materials for use in combination with irradiation treatment of foods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1545-1554
Number of pages10
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Nov
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank J. Kim, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, and J. Maxim, National Center for Electron Beam Food Research, Texas A&M University, for their assistance with the irradiation experiments. We also thank Dr. Alejandro Castillo, Department of Animal Science, for his assistance with the microbiological analyses. This research was funded in part by a USDA/NRI Grant No. 2002-35201-12441 and a USDA/CSREES Grant No. 2002-51110-01968.


  • Active compound
  • Electron beam irradiation
  • Listeria, Escherichia coli
  • Packaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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