Metal oxide nanoparticles for safe active and intelligent food packaging


•Easy to fabricate, safe and cost-effective nanomaterials for food smart packaging. •Antimicrobial biomaterials for food packaging are developed from metal oxide nanoparticles.
•Oxygen and ethylene molecules from the headspace of food packaging are absorbed.
•The safety of packaging material is evaluated on human cells, intestinal barrier, and microbiota.
•Packaging for indicating food quality are developed utilizing metal oxide nanoparticles.


Food safety and food security remain the major concern of consumers and the food industry. Bacterial contamination continues to be a crucial food safety issue. Smart packaging incorporates both active and intelligent components. Intrinsic antibacterial activity, oxygen and ethylene scavenging (active) and the sensing (intelligent) properties of metal oxide nanoparticles are in research focus for application in smart food packaging, especially bio-nanocomposite films.

Scope and approach

Metal oxide nanoparticle properties are closely linked to their morphology resulting from the synthesis process. In this review, we cover current innovative synthesis methods for obtaining metal oxide nanoparticles and current incorporation techniques used to obtain smart (active and/or intelligent) packaging, focusing on bio-nanocomposites, commonly used metal oxides and future mixed metal or doped metal oxides. Taking into account safety, we focus on current legislation, and methods for risk assessment due to particle release from the packaging material and a summary of cytotoxic studies of metal oxide nanoparticles on human cells and the gut microbiota.

Key findings and conclusions

Antimicrobial effectiveness of metal oxide nanoparticles is highly dependent on morphology as a result of the synthesis method. Solution casting and electrospinning are innovative methods applied to synthesize metal oxide incorporated biopolymer films for active packaging with improved mechanical and barrier properties combined with active components (antimicrobial, ethylene scavenging). Metal oxides show sensitivity and selectivity to most gases produced during food spoilage. In selection of metal oxide for smart packaging, particle migration and cytotoxic activity are key issues requiring careful and detailed characterization.

Website Link (Journal Article)


Published by RenSun Lee

Kia ora! Sustainability is at the core of my soul ever since I was a kid. I always strive to finish the food on my plate and live as a minimalist. I love to cut down on waste in order to live sustainably and harmoniously with our planet. This brings me to my passion as a Food Scientist to integrate new technologies into innovative and creative solutions to meet customer demands and market trends and to optimize products and processes for quality, savings and sustainability. To these goals, I have published a Journal on my work on sustainable packaging and patented a new Antimicrobial wash. Nothing is more satisfying than working hard and smart at the workplace and playing hard outside of working hours. I enjoy rejuvenating myself through spending quality time with my two adorable kids and my awesome soul mate and getting close to nature when possible, be it gardening, tramping or going to the beach. I also love to learn about our magnificent universe and how sustainability is working in the grand scheme of things. I strongly believe that Work, Life & Balance is the key to a healthy state of mind, both physically and mentally. I look forward to making a positive difference wherever and whenever I can. Through this Blog, I hope to catalog recent Food Trends and Food Technologies that I come across so that anyone who is interested can have access to it (articles and resources). Please use these resources at your discretion. On top of that, I would also like to share related news and technologies of the future that would help mankind advance towards a Type 1 Civilization. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share and contribute to the “Resources“. I would like to thank you in advance for dropping by. I sincerely hope that you can benefit from the recent Food Trends and Food Technologies I catalogued. Kind regards | Ngā mihi RenSun Lee

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: