Strategies to Improve the Aging, Barrier and Mechanical Properties of Chitosan, Whey and Wheat Gluten Protein Films
- Idoia Olabarrieta, AKADEMISK AVHANDLING
In this study, pioneering results on specific chemical modifications of wheat gluten gliadins and the corresponding impact on mechanical and water barrier properties of derived films are presented. Films were prepared from gliadins chemically treated with formaldehyde and subsequently mixed with different concentrations of glycerol as a plasticizing agent. Water vapor barrier and mechanical properties of the films were evaluated as a function of relative humidity and glycerol concentration. Formaldehyde treatment led to enhanced mechanical properties and, to a lesser extent, improved water barrier of the films, effects which point to the formation of new intermolecular bonds between monomeric gliadins. The occurrence of cross-linking was supported by SDS-PAGE analysis. Cross-linked films maintained their integrity after immersion in water and had similar optical properties to control films. The effect of glycerol and humidity on water vapor permeability and the mechanical properties of films was less acute when proteins were treated with formaldehyde. Thus, chemical treatment of proteins is shown to be a very effective route for optimizing the use of these films in packaging applications.