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Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52
Arch Lebensmittelhyg 68,
© M. & H. Schaper GmbH & Co.
1)Faculty of Agronomy and Food Technology University of Mostar, Biskupa C
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina; 2)Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and
Education, University of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
in the food industry
Biologisch abbaubare Verpackungen in der Lebensmittelindustrie
Anita Ivankovic´1), Karlo Zeljko1), Stanislava Talic´2), Anita Martinovic´ Bevanda2),
Summary This paper provides an overview of the development, use and future trends of bio-
degradable packaging, types of biopolymers, the properties of biodegradable packa-
ging, the concept of biodegradability, bio-technology production and packaging
advantages and shortcomings of. In the opening statement, described the concept
of packaging in general and how biodegradable packaging developed through history.
The chapter on biopolymers shows that all types of biopolymers are used for the
production of bio-packaging and how we share it. The next two chapters relate to
the properties of biodegradable materials and distribution of bio-packaging shapes.
A special place in the work occupies a section of biodegradation and composting,
which clearly illustrates the mechanism of biodegradation but also clarifies the
concept compostable and biodegradable plastics. The last two chapters deal with the
technology of production of biodegradable packaging and a brief analysis of the
advantages and disadvantages biodegradable packaging. An important component of
this work is a questionnaire on the awareness and importance of using biodegradable
packaging with students at four faculties of the University of Mostar.
Keywords: biodegradable packaging, polymers, degradation
Zusammenfassung Dieser Artikel soll einen Überblick über die Entwicklung, die derzeitige Nutzung und
zukünftige Trends biologisch abbaubarer Verpackungen geben. Des Weiteren über
Biopolymere, der biologischen Abbaubarkeit, Produktionstechnologien und über Vor-
und Nachteile biologisch abbaubarer Verpackungen informieren. Zu Beginn des
Artikels wird über Verpackungen im Allgemeinen und über die Entwicklung der
biologisch abbaubaren Verpackung im Laufe der Zeit berichtet. Das Kapitel über Bio-
polymere zeigt, dass alle Arten von Biopolymeren für die Herstellung von Biover -
packungen verwendet werden und wie diese eingeteilt werden. Die nächsten beiden
Kapitel beziehen sich auf die Eigenschaften von biologisch abbaubaren Materialien
und die Verbreitung von biologischen Verpackungsformen. Eine Sonderstellung in der
Arbeit hat der Abschnitt des biologischen Abbaus und Kompostierung, der den
Mechanismus des biologischen Abbaus verdeutlicht, aber auch das Konzept kompo-
stierbarer und biologisch abbaubare Kunststoffe darstellt. Die letzten beiden Kapitel
beschäftigen sich mit der Produktionstechnologien und einer kurzen Analyse der Vor-
und Nachteile biologisch abbaubarer Verpackungen. Ein wichtiger Bestandteil dieser
Arbeit ist ein Fragebogen zum Bewusstsein und zur Bedeutung der Verwendung von
biologisch abbaubaren Verpackungen mit Studierenden an vier Fakultäten der Uni-
versität von Mostar.
Schlüsselwörter:biologisch abbaubare Verpackungen, Polymere, Abbau
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52 27
Packaging is any product that is used to hold, protection,
handling, delivery and presentation of goods, from raw
materials to finished products, from producers to con -
sumers. Packaging is usually divided according to the basic
raw material of which is produced according to the type of
packaging material can be divided into metal, glass, poly-
mer, paper cardboard, wood, textile, multilayered, ceramic
and other types.
Food packaging must meet a number of conditions, such
as legislation, safety and many other conditions as well as
functionality since it is required to be innovative, easy to
use and attractive design. One of the main tasks of
packaging in the food industry is to protect the product of
chemical, mechanical and microbiological impact, and also
allows the freshness of the product and keeps all its
nutritional value. The key point in food packaging is that
the packaging is an integral part of the production, preser-
vation, storage, distribution, and at the present time and an
integral part of the preparation of foods. The properties of
the food product are only possible to maintain proper
selection of appropriate packaging and packing process
(Stricˇ evic´, 1982).
The aim of the paper is importance of raising awareness
of people to live properly and responsibly, in harmony with
nature, manage packaging and encourage the production
of biodegradable packaging. Finally, it would be presented
to the survey, which was conducted on students of under -
graduate study natural sciences and medical sciences at the
University of Mostar.
Development of bioplastic
Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, great impor -
tance is given to products from renewable sources, for their
positive impact on nature. Generally increasing awareness
among consumers worldwide to conventional plastic pro-
ducts, although very useful, creating huge damage to the
environment, water resources, and the entire ecosystem.
Accumulation of plastic in the environment, reduction of
arable land, wear oil wells, releasing gases during incine -
ration have prompted efforts to develop biodegradable
packaging / plastics (Mohatny et al, 2015).
The largest sector in the demand for bio-packaging is the
food industry. The rapid development of the industry has
led to problems with non-degradable packaging, but it
takes time, work and patience while reorienting them to
bio-packaging (bioplastic) (Platt, 2006).
In addition to efforts to find a replacement for plastic sup-
ports the development and cardboard packaging produced
only from renewable sources (Kolybaba 2003, Narayan, 2006).
The main leaders in composting are Germany and the
Netherlands, where for a very long time composting is car-
ried out effectively and successfully, all thanks to national
programs to support and develop people's consciousness
(Mohatny, 2005, Platt, 2006).
Biomaterials (biopolymers) are polymers produced from
renewable sources. Biopolymers are manufactured from
plant raw materials, in the first place, but in recent times
and of animal. Their main feature is their biodegradability.
Classified in many ways such as, chemical structure, origin,
methods of synthesis, cost-effectiveness, application, etc.
(Davidovic and Savic, 2010).
Polymers from renewable resources are different from
natural polymers because their synthesis is induced inten-
tionally. Conventional polymers are not biodegradable be-
cause of long chains of molecules that are too big and too
well connected to each other to make them able to separate
the microorganisms to break down. Unlike conventional,
polymers made from natural plant materials from wheat,
potato or corn starches have molecules that are easily
microbiologically degradable. For 1 kg of bio-plastics
should be 1 to 2 kg of maize and 5 to 10 kg of potatoes,
which means that 500 000 tons of bio-plastics per year re-
quires 50,000 to 100,000 hectares of soil. At the same time,
it means the destruction of large areas of forest/rainforest
to cultivated plants for the production of biodegradable
materials (Goodship and Ogar, 2004).
Thanks to their natural origin, natural polymers are all
inherently biodegradable since for each enzyme a polyme-
rase whose activities produce a natural polymer, and there
is depolymerase capable of catalyzing the decomposition of
the polymer (Scholz and Khemani, 2006).
Classification of biopolymers
The traditional way of dealing with biodegradable
packaging materials is divided into three generations based
on historical development.
The first generation of material was used for shopping bags,
consisting of synthetic polymers such as low density poly-
ethylene (LDPE-low density polyethylene) with a pro -
portion of 5–15 % starch fillers and pro-oxidizing and auto-
oxidative additives. Later these materials decompose or
bio-fragment into smaller molecules that are not biodegra-
dable. Such materials have created a very bad image of bio
materials especially for consumers who were convinced
that they played in terms of biodegradability (Chiellini,
2008). Low density polyethylene-LDPE produced in 1933
by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) using high pressure
process via free radical polymerization. Its production uses
the same methods today. It is estimated that about 5.7 wt%
of LDPE can be recycled. LDPE is in the range defined by
the density of 0.910 to 0.940 g/cm3. Non-reactive at room
temperature, except in the action of strong oxidizing agents
and some solvents cause swelling. Excellent resistance to
acids, alcohols, esters, and a base, followed by resistance to
various aldehydes, ketones and vegetable oils, and low is
resistant to halogen hydrocarbons. They are stable up to a
temperature of 80 °C. It is produced in transparent or
opaque variations, and is quite flexible and tough, but also
fragile. It is used for general purposes (packaging for
juices) or for industrial purposes (corrosion resistant mate-
rials, welding machine, etc. (Malpass, 2010).
The second generation of biomaterials comprises a mixture
of pre-gelatinized starch (40–70 %) and low density poly-
ethylene (LDPE) with the addition of the hydrophilic
copolymer such as ethylene acrylic acid, polyvinyl alcohol
and vinyl acetate, which are used to compact. Complete
degradation of starch takes 40 days and the degradation of
the whole of the above-mentioned film lasts 2–3 years.
The third generation of the material fully consists of bio-
materials and can be divided into three main categories
according to the origin and production methods:
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52
1. Polymers extracted/isolated directly from biomass
2. Polymers produced by classical chemical synthesis and
3. Polymers obtained directly from natural or genetically
modified organisms (Chiellini, 2008).
Third generation biopolymers those are interesting for this
study can be divided into three main categories according
to their origin and method of production:
Polymers extracted/isolated directly from biomass
This category of biopolymers is most present on the mar-
ket. Polymers of this category are obtained from plants,
marine and domestic animals. Examples are polysacchari-
des, such as cellulose, chitin and starch, whey protein, ca-
sein, collagen, soy protein, myofibrillar proteins of animal
muscle, etc., can be used alone or as a mixture with syn -
thetic polyesters such as polylactic acid (PLA). The most
prevalent category that is used in food packaging is
cellulose-based paper. There appears also regenerated
cellulose film (cellophane paper) and cellulose acetate.
Hemicellulose, the second most abundant plant polymer in
the world, is in its infancy as a biomaterial research for food
packaging (Grondahl et al, 2006).
From raw materials annually renewable, based on starch
are most used. Green plants such as potatoes, corn, wheat
and rice are the raw materials for the production of
biopolymers. Starch as the main component in them, it is
potentially the most acceptable biodegradable polymer
material due to its low cost, availability, and because it is
produced from renewable sources. How is not a thermopla-
stic material, is used in mixtures with non-biodegradable
polymers and biodegradable materials. The nature of the
crystal grains in the form of 15–100 microns in diameter
after extraction, the crystal structure is distorted to him
pressing, heat, mechanical work and plasticizers such as
water, glycerol and other polyols to make the thermoplastic
starch (Bastioli, 2005). Plastic-coated starch (known as
thermoplastic starch or TPS) is usually obtained by de-
stroying or plastic coating of native starch with water using
the thermo-mechanical energy in a continuous extrusion
process. TPS can be manufactured in the same way as
traditional plastics, but the sensitivity to water vapor and
low mechanical properties render it useless for many appli-
cations. TPS achieves equilibrium properties after a few
weeks (Averous et al, 2004).
Mixing starch with aliphatic polyesters improves its
workability and biodegradation. The combination of starch
with a water soluble polymer such as polyvinyl chloride
(PVC) is used for the production of starch film (Adeodato
Vieira et al, 2011).
This generation of plastics made from starch is comple-
tely biodegradable. From biodegradable plastics based on
starch are made of different bags and sacks, rigid packaging
such as hot-formed trays and containers, as well as products
for filling gaps in packages. This material successfully re-
places polystyrene and polyethylene in many applications
(Rustogy and Chandra, 1998).
Chitin and chitosan
Chitin is the second most abundant polysaccharide after
cellulose and differs from it only by the OH group. The
most abundant in the cell walls of the skin of insects, the
shells of shellfish and insects, and can be found in the cell
walls of some fungi. Chitosan is actually deacetylated
derivative of chitin (Clarnival and Halleux, 2005). Both are
applied to produce various biodegradable films for
packaging, and the largest they use as an edible coating to
prolong the shelf-life of fresh fruits and vegetables (Zhao
and Mc Daniel, 2005). Chitosan has a very poor mechanical
properties and resistance to water.
More recently used composite films formed by mixing
chitosan and starch showing good properties when it comes
to water vapour and mechanical properties. Chitin and
chitosan have good antimicrobial properties to a variety of
fungi, yeasts and bacteria found in food and thus enable
good use as materials that produce biodegradable packa-
ging for food packaging, in particular, are important for
prolonging the shelf-life of foods (Chiellini, 2008).
Other plant proteins
The two most common vegetable proteins used in the
production of biodegradable packaging are chickpeas and
isolated soy protein. Other proteins that are used include
those extracted from wheat, pistachios, peas and sunflower
(Dean and Yu, 2005). Other polymers based on proteins
such as albumin, casein, fibrinogen, silk and elastin are
taken into account due to its biodegradability as a raw
material for the production of biodegradable packaging.
Unfortunately they have not found wide use because they
are difficult to process, do not melt without decompression,
and difficult to mix with other polymers due to incompa -
tibility and processing them is expensive unlike other poly-
saccharides (Battacharya et al, 2005).
Films made from isolated soy protein are very sensitive to
moisture and is not strong. Adding stearic acid of about
25 % to improve properties of tensile and thermal proper-
ties and reduced moisture sensitivity (Lodha and Nteravali,
2005). More recently it was discovered that the soy protein
together with glycerol, gellan gum, or K-carrageenan suita-
ble for the production of biodegradable/edible soybean-
based packaging containers (trays) (Mohareb and Mittal,
2007). Always in the production of such packaging must
pay attention to the barrier properties to moisture because
most hydrophilic in nature. Work on the properties of these
materials is demanded because they have not yet come
across a great application in production but is thought to
want in the future. Collagen covers (intestine) for now
remain the only widely applied product based on proteins.
It is believed that the film based on a protein found exten-
sive application as edible films in future also (Guilbert and
Polymers produced by conventional
chemical synthesis of bio-monomers
It is possible to get a large range biopolyesters by chemical
synthesis. In theory, all previous packaging materials can be
replaced by new types derived from renewable monomers,
but the question of economic viability (Kobayashi, 2010,
Berezina and Martelli, 2014).
The most famous of these groups biopolymer is poly -
lactic acid (PLA-polylactide). PLA is biodegradable
thermoplastic linear polyester, for its properties similar to
polystyrene. The raw material for obtaining the lactic acid
is obtained by fermentation of glucose or starch from an -
other source. As a source of carbohydrate may be used
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52 29
corn, wheat or alternatively whey and molasses (Wackett,
There are several routes to useful industrial (or high mo-
lecular weight) PLA (Woo et al, 1995).
There are the two principal monomers lactic acid and
lactide. The most common way to the PLA is a ring-
opening polymerization of lactide with various metal
catalysts (typically tin (II)-ethyl hexanoate) in solution or
as a suspension. The reaction metal catalyst often causes
racemization of PLA, reducing stereospecificity with
respect to the starting material.
The second time the PLA is a direct condensation of
lactic acid monomer. This procedure should be carried out
at a temperature lower than 200 °C because above this
temperature in the formation of low molecular weight
materials. Direct condensation is carried out in steps, where
the lactic acid in the first oligomerizes PLA oligomers. The-
reafter, the polycondensation is carried out in solution or
the melt where the short oligomeric units combine to give a
high molecular weight polymer chain. Removing the water
using vacuum or azeotropic desti lation favors to polycon-
densation during transesterifi cation. Even higher molecular
weight can be obtained by careful crystallisation of the
crude polymer from the melt. The carboxylic acids and
alcohols, the last group are concentrated in the amorphous
area of the solid polymer can be reacted.
Polymerization of the mixture of L- and D-lactide typi-
cally leads to the synthesis of poly-DL-lactide (PDLLA),
which is amorphous. The use of a catalyst can result in PLA
exhibiting crystallinity. In addition to lactic acid and lactide
is used and lactic acid O-karoboksihidrid (Kricheldorf et al,
1983). In aerobically degrades completely over the lactic
acid into water and carbon dioxide, and the biodegradation
favorable conditions for 3–4 weeks (Mahalik and Nambiar,
PLA is mainly processed into thermoformed pads and
containers for packing and serving food, films, transparen-
cies and bottles and other packaging blown, but also mixed
with other materials to improve their. PLA excellent water
vapor-permeable which is important in the packaging of
fresh food, which is necessary for the water vapor which
evaporates quickly while reducing disturbance of the
packaging. Is largely processed into thermoformed pads
and containers for packing and serving food, films, trans -
parencies and bottles and other packaging blown, but also
mixed with other materials to improve their.
An example of the good properties of the variety of
raspberry “Polana“ which during storage maintains a stable
concentration of anthocyanins in all combinations of
packaging with PLA thickness of 25 or 40 microns (poly-
propylene boxes in PLA bags and cardboard boxes in the
PLA bags) Unlike polypropylene box with holes and card-
board boxes . PLA bags thickness 25 micrometers maintain
optimal gas composition (10 to 20 % CO2and 5 to 10 %
O2) for storing raspberries (Seglia et al, 2009).
Polymers obtained directly from natural
or genetically modified organisms
Many bacteria accumulate these polymers as a source of
energy and as a carbon reserve. This group includes
polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and bacterial cellulose.
PHAs are polyesters that are part of the living oraganizama
structure, hydrophobic and insoluble in water.
Their characteristics are most associated with the pro-
perties of the monomer building blocks of which which a
wide variety of different biopolymer can be synthesized by
microbial fermentation. Enzyme PHA-polymerase cata -
lyzes the reaction of polymerization HA in the PHA within
the cell. The overall biochemical pathway of synthesis
carried out in the cell in a series of enzyme reactions.
PHA, which synthesizes type Alcaligenes, Azotobacter,
Bacillus, Halobacterium, Rhizobium and many other
micro-organisms can be produced in large quantities bio-
technologicaly, renewable substrate, using fermentation
and known physical and chemical processes extracted from
biomass after production. Depending on the bacteria and
the carbon source, the polyhydroxyalkanoate may be
manufactured from rigid brittle to plastic to rubber-like
polymer. Have similar properties such as propylene and
polyethylene, elastic and the thermoplastic (retained upon
cooling forms) (Zivkovic, 2009).
The most common is the use of derivative polyhydroxy-
butyrate labeled PHB. PHB is biodegradable polyester
linear prepared by bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipid.
It can be used for food packaging, cosmetics and pharma-
ceutical products, as well as in agriculture. The aerobic
conditions are completely degraded into water and carbon
dioxide. Biodegradation in favorable conditions takes 5–6
weeks (Botana et al, 2010).
Apart from renewable, biodegradable plastics can be
produced from synthetic polymers by using bacteria. The
bacterium Pseudomonas putida converts styrene monomer
in the polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), biodegradable plastic
which has a wide range of applications. PHA is water in -
soluble, biodegradable material and compostable whose
improvement works intensively before its commercializa-
tion (Chiellini, 2008).
Properties of biodegradable materials
Materials were based on the need to be useful in the food
packaging industry so as to their physical and mechanical
properties enable their eligibility and the application of a
certain degree, but it also applies largely to prices.
Poor barrier properties (especially humidity resistance) of
the traditional and most widely used biomaterials (paper, cel-
lulose films, and cellophane) are all known and is therefore
necessary to mix these materials with synthetic polymers to
achieve the desired barrier properties for packaging of many
foodstuffs. Biomaterials made of polysaccharides having
poor barrier properties when it comes to water vapor and
other polar substances in a large proportion of the humidity,
but at low or middle portion of humidity create good proper-
ties to oxygen and other non-polar substances such as various
flavors and oils. Moisture vapor transmission rate was prepa-
red from the starch material is 4–6 times higher than conven-
tional materials made from synthetic polymers. Materials
made of arabinoxylan as barley a low permeability as regards
oxygen and CO2and a high permeability in the case of water
vapor (the fluorinated materials are less surface hydrophilic
such or yet to be finalized).
Some of barrier properties (Tab. 1) where the bio -
material and oil derived materials eg., PLA (polylactic
acid) has a moisture vapor transmission rate 3–5 times
greater than that of PET (polietilentetraftalat), LDPE (low
density polyethylene), HDPE (high density polyethylene)
and OPS (oriented polystyrene). PLA has improved
barrier properties to oxygen from PS (polystyrene), but not
as well as PET.
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52
PHA (polihidroksialkonati) has similar moisture vapor
transmission rate as well as materials made from petro-
PHB (polyhydroxyalkanoates) has better barrier pro-
perties to oxygen from the PET and PP (polypropylene),
and adequate barrier properties when it comes to fat and
fragrances for products with a short shelf life.
Barrier properties of gases in most bio-materials depend
on the ambient humidity, or PLA and PHA are exceptions.
The mechanical properties of most organic material similar
to the materials derived from petroleum. For example
properties of the PLA are defined by molecular weight of
the polymer chain structure (linear with respect to the
branched), the degree of crystallization etc. Orientation
PLA improves the mechanical strength and heat stability, a
different molecular weight and crystallization result of soft
and elastic to hard and high strength materials. The
amorphous and poorly crystallized PLA has a transparent,
shiny surface; a highly crystalline PLA has an opaque
surface. In Table 1 is avaliable to the melting temperature
is 130–180 °C, and in the glassy form exceeds already at a
temperature of 40–70 °C.
The physical properties of PHA copolymer depend of
the composition and molecular structure of the copolymer.
PHB is generally hard, highly crystalline thermoplastic
polymer which most resembles the isotactic PP because of
its mechanical properties. As such polymer PHB generally
rigid and brittle, the introduction of the HV (hidoksivale-
ratne subunit) copolymers improves his mechanical pro -
perties so that it reduces the level of crystallization and
melting temperature resulting in a decrease or increase in
hardness toughness and resistance to impact. It is evident
that a variety of PHA used in various applications due to
its properties and a melting temperature which is
Experimental methods try to de-
termine which materials have super-
ior properties and are carried out and
also the mixing of different types to
obtain a better packing material.
The main problem was the most-used
for food packaging are their proper-
ties, processing and price. In parti -
cular, brittleness, low temperatures at
which creates distortion, low resis -
tance during processing (excluding
PHA polymers) and their barrier pro-
perties, particularly to water vapor,
limiting their use. In recent years, the
price drops and they certainly will de-
cline in the future and with time
should increase process optimization
and efficiency of plants for the produc-
tion of such material. The limited
availability of raw materials is still one
of the most pressing problems that
hinder the development of such mate-
rials. However it is unlikely that will be
enough to PLA and to meet the needs
of the food industry for some time.
Methods for improving functionality
It is necessary to develop new techniques and processes to
improve the barrier properties of bio-packaging. For exam-
ple, the addition of bio-nanocomposite material shows that
the improved mechanical properties of bio-materials and
coating SiOx compounds with PLA material reduces
moisture vapor transmission rate of 60 %. There are many
applications of different techniques that improve different
properties when it comes to these materials or to achieve
this and applied in the future requires more effort and
research that will help to these materials even more pro-
ducts and use (Chiellini, 2008).
Biodegradable packaging is produced in several different
forms to adapt to the requirements for packaging and
storage of various products currently the most biodegra -
dable gels, films, bags, boxes with lids and trays.
The gels are commonly used to prevent microbial conta -
mination, such as a hydrogel, the hydrogel chemical and
polymeric network (IPN) (Farrisa et al, 2009). In lettuce,
for example, impregnating gel no visible positive effects on
maintaining the quality and content of pectic substances
while the fruits of Solanum muricatum, protective gel
positive effect on maintaining the beta-carotene (Schreiner
et al, 2003). Radish gel coat starch-based proved effective
to maintain the content of pectin while the same is not
performed well for content Glucosinolate. It has been
found that a combination of hydrogels for various poly -
meric materials reduce the service life of certain fruits,
probably due to migration of water from the surrounding
area (Garcia and Barrett, 2002). White extruded ginseng
extract has good potential to maintain the concentration of
antioxidants if used together with biodegradable stretch
film (Rico et al, 2007).
TABLE 1: The barrier properties of polymers to bio-based and those derived from oil
Polymers Transfer rate of Moisture vapor Temperature Material thickness
oxygen mL m–2 transmission rate (°C) (mm)
day–1 at 0 % (g m–2 day–1 at 100 %
relative humidity) relative humidity)
OPLA (Oriented polylactic acid)
56.33 15.30 22 4.6
PLA (Polylactic acid)
200 66 23 0.1
PLA-M (Polylactic acid average molecular weight) 210 (at 90 %
relative humidity) 25 0.25
PLLA + SiOx (Polylactic acid medium molecular weight silicic compounds + hydrocarbons)
84–99 34–40 (at 37.8 °C) 23 0.1
183 1.16 30 1
PHBV (Poly-hydroxybutyrate and hydroxy valerate)
1.39 30 1
9.44 3.48 22 4.6
OPS (Oriented polystyrene)
532 5.18 22 4.6
LDPE (Low density polyethylene) 38 (at 90 %
7.9 relative humidity) 0.75
LDPE+ 5% starch 38 (at 90 %
36.85 relative humidity) 0.75
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52 31
Biodegradable films are designed with the intention of re-
placing the polyethylene film used for different purposes,
from various industrial films, packaging products to the bag
for the collection of organic waste. Such materials have
better properties than traditional non-degradable plastics.
They are resistant to moisture, warm organic materials for
a period of several weeks or even months without changes
in physical properties. This allows greater flexibility com-
posting program. Good as a replacement for current films
used in storage, transport and packaging of the product and
are completely biodegradable. In addition, do not contain
polyethylene, do not leave residues after composting and
are made from renewable biomaterials (polyester derived
from corn dextrose). A comparative study of the permea-
bility of the biodegradable film for oxygen and carbon
dioxide as a form of packaging for the fruit of tomatoes
showed that films with low permeability negatively affected
the quality of the fruit. However, when the permeability of
the biodegradable films is into line with the respiration of
the fruit, the prevention of contamination by microorga-
nisms and insects achieved a positive effect on the dura -
bility and quality (Muratore et al, 2005).
Compared with polyphenol foil, biodegradable film
permeability is significantly decreased. Two kinds of
experimental films have been applied to freshly chopped
pineapple and melon and observed for their influence on
the microbiological quality control of the fruit during
storage at 10 °C. The types of films that were used in this
study are commercial plastic stretch film and experimental
methyl-cellulose film that includes vanilla as a natural
antimicrobial agent. Fresh sliced fruit, without any foil
wrapping was used as a control. Methyl-cellulose film had
inhibitory effect against Escherichia coli, and the yeast was
reduced was recorded. Methyl cellulose films with vanillin
increased the intensity of the yellow color with pineapple.
Pineapple which was guarded in an ordinary commercial
plastic film had a larger amount of ethanol. However, with
pieces of pineapple coated biodegradable film with vanillin
recorded a decrease of ascorbic acid by 90 % (Sungsuwan
et al, 2008).
The production technology is based
on the use of bio materials, namely
polyester obtained from dextrose
corn as the main raw material. Thus
was obtained 100 % biodegradable
packaging, which is the influence of
microorganisms in conditions such as
normal composting degraded organic
material to carbon dioxide and water.
By using natural raw materials, are
not diminished physical properties of
this product, but on the contrary, they
are improved. Biode gradable bags
are strong, flexible, resistant to brea-
kage and damage, and resistant to
moisture and temperature changes
because of its raw material compo -
sition, the largest application with the
food industry. Tests show that these
bags are safe packaging, and can be
used for the storage and packaging of
food products. The addition of cer-
tain additives, the use of bags extends to other industrial
branches.Prednost application of biodegradable bags is not
only the functionality but also the fulfillment of all the rules
of environmental protection. Upon completion of use bags
as packaging, the bags when disposing of the land or com-
post decomposable to carbon dioxide and water, over a pe-
riod of several weeks, and at the same time does not dimi-
nish the value of the resulting compost, which makes this
container substantially different from previously known
polyethylene (Nampoothiri et al, 2010).
Biodegradable boxes with lids
Box with a cover made of bi-oriented polystyrene, pro -
duced from corn. Such packaging is biodegradable after
47 days, depending on the conditions, and the process does
not release harmful substances into the environment. It is
crystal clear, allowing better visibility of contents, and is
resistant to grease and withstands temperatures
from –60 °C to +80 °C. PLA containers significantly better
maintain fruit quality blueberries from standard ventilated
switching containers at temperatures between 10 and 23 °C
(Alemar et al, 2008).
Trays for fruits and vegetables
It was found that salad, and sliced broccoli, tomatoes, sweet
corn and blueberries can be successfully kept in biode -
gradable trays of pulp wrapped in foil packaging of poured-
caprolactone. Such patches are resistant to moisture but
brittle. Correspond to the products during freezing them
does not change their structural properties well (Makino
and Hirata, 1996).
Biodegradable packaging with silver
Silver is used in the fight against infection and deterioration
even in ancient Greece and Rome. In the 19th century
botanist von Nagel found that small concentrations or
silver particles have an antibacterial effect. Silver is used
today in the food packaging system. Food longer maintains
the quality texture, improve its storage capacity and
maintain food security addition of silver in the packaging.
Silver as an element in the production of biodegradable
TABLE 2: Mechanical properties of bio-based polymers and polymers derived from oil
Polymers Melting point The tempera- Young's model Tensile strength Elongation
Tm(°C) ture of the glass of elasticity (N mm–2) at Break (%)
transition Tg(°C) (kN mm–2)
Starch 110–115 0.6–0.85 35–80 580–820
PLA (polylactic acid) 130–180 40–70 3.5 48–53 30–240
PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates) 70–70 –30 do 10 0.7–1.8 18–24 3–25
PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate) 140–180 0 3.5 25–40 5–8
and hydroxyvalerate) 100–190 0–30 0.6–1 25–30 7–15
PHB (at 20 °C) (polyhydroxy-
butyrate) 180 4 3.5 43 5
PHBV (at 20 °C) (polyhydroxy-
butyrate and hydroxyvalerate) 145 1 1.2 20 50
thalate) 245–265 73–80 2.8–4.1 48–72 30–300
PS (polystyrene) 100 70–115 2.3–3.3 8–20 100–1000
LDPE (Low Density Poly-
ethylene) 110 –30 0.2 10 620
PP (polypropylene) 176 0 1.7 3.8 400
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52
packaging has antibacterial role. It damages the cell walls,
cell membranes and cytoplasm of bacteria. More recent
studies have found that silver also affects the replication of
DNA. Silver may be incorporated in the biopolymer in the
form of pure silver, silver coated, or in the form of micro-
particles. Biodegradable film with silver is preferred over
any other packaging materials because of its suppleness
and exceptional adhesion ability to fruit. It is used for
packaging fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as for storage
and transportation of food. The product meets the require-
ments on sanitary objects that come into direct contact with
food (Tokic et al, 2011, Otoni et all, 2016).
Biodegradation and composting
Biodegradation is the biochemical material conversion
process in the water, biomass, carbon dioxide or methane
in terms of the action of microorganisms. The process of
biodegradation of the polymer consists of two steps. First,
the process of reducing the polymer chain breaking of
carbon bonds in terms of the effect of heat (degradation
rate depends on temperature), humidity and the presence
of microorganisms. Second, part of the process of biode -
gradation process begins when shorter chains become ener-
gy sources of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi or algae).
This process is in full sense confirmed as biodegradation
only when carbon compounds become food and micro -
organisms are transformed into water, biomass or carbon
dioxide (Barone and Arikan, 2007).
Composting is an ancient method of converting organic
matter remains in the fertile humus. Organic substances
which improve soil structure formed from organic waste
valuable help to retain moisture, the soil more breathable,
increase soil microbiological activity, enriching it with
nutrients and increase the resistance of plants to pests and
diseases (Mondini et al, 2004).
It is a biological process in which the controlled con -
ditions of elevated temperature and activity of certain
microorganisms (composting cycle), there is a degradation
of polymers to biobased as fast as the others decomposition
of organic waste, resulting in a water, carbon dioxide and
compost. The resulting organic compost is completely
environmentally neutral and in agronomic terms shall have
the same characteristics as other compost. The process of
composting is a key segment of dealing with organic waste
and return the remains of biodegradable materials in the
new use (Xi et al, 2016).
The mechanism of biodegradation of polymers
Degradable polymers – the chemical structure is chan-
ged under the influence of moisture, oxygen
Biodegradable polymers – are broken down under the
influence of naturally occurring microorganisms
Hydrolytic degradable polymers – are degraded by
Oxidation degradable polymers – are broken down by
Photodegradable polymer – breaks down under the
influence of natural light. Under the influence of photo-
oxidation comes to breaking chemical bonds. This is a
reaction involving radicals – chain reaction
Thermal degradable polymers – thermally degradable
Biodegradation of plastic happens if biological system (the
body) uses organic materials, plastics as a source of
nutrients. Microorganisms identify biodegradable plastics
as food and consume and digest. Biodegradable plastics can
be based on renewable raw materials – biomass (eg, starch)
or non-renewable – fossil raw materials (eg, oil) processed
by chemical or biotechnological processes. Source or pro-
cess that produces biodegradable plastic does not affect the
classification of biodegradable plastics.
speed and the degree of degradation, in addition to the
chemical composition of, depends on the starting
material, and the composition of the region of the end
product, which can be modified by adding fillers and
plasticizers to improve properties or reduce cost.
The degradation process of biodegradable plastics may
involve simultaneous or sequential abiotic and biotic
steps, but must include a step of biological mineraliza-
tion. the biodegradation affect abiotic (cold, humidity ...)
and biotic factors (micro-organisms)
Level 1 – fragmentation (macroscopic decomposition
and conversion to oligomers)
2nd stage – mineralization (conversion of the organic
substances in inorganic, under the influence of micro -
Chemical mechanisms: hydrolysis, oxidation (Funke et
Biodegrad- and composting products are friendly alterna-
tive to protect the environment in order to preserve fossil
fuels, and reduce CO2emissions. Often there is confusion
about the biodegradable, bioizvorne or both. To illustrate
the difference, the organization European Bioplastics has
proposed a simple two-axis model that includes all kinds of
plastic materials and their possible combinations.
Plastics are divided into four characteristic groups. The
horizontal axis shows the biodegradability of plastic, and
the vertical axis shows the source of raw materials – petro-
chemicals (fossil) sources or renewable sources. It followed
four groups of materials:
1st plastic that is not biodegradable and is made from
petrochemical sources-this category includes materials
that we know as traditional plastics.
2nd biodegradable plastics from renewable resources is
composite made of biomass and exhibits a biodegrada bility.
3rd biodegradable plastic from fossil sources is plastics
that can be biodegradable or made of fossil origin.
4th non-biodegradable plastics from renewable sources –
plastics produced from biomass but without the status of
biodegradability (Križan, 2012).
Biodegradation of PLA (polylactic acid) and PHAs
PLA (polylactic acid) decomposes to CO2, water and
biomass in controlled composting conditions in less than
90 days. This decomposition takes place in a controlled
environment in large plants where the compost tempera -
ture reaches 140 °C (Runjic´ Sokele, 2007).
PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) are degradable in a bio-
logical environment, eg. in the compost. Microorganisms
attack PHVB by an enzyme secreted by PHA de-polyme-
rase that breaks the polymer base hydroxybutyrate (HB)
and hidoksi-valerate (HV) subunits. HV and HB units later
are used for growth. 55 % of tested yeast genus Penicillium
degrades PHA. Degradation usually lasts up to 24 weeks
but can be quite fast in a controlled environment (45 days)
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52 33
Compostable plastics are plastics that are biodegradable in
the conditions and within the time frame of the cycle of
composting. During industrial composting heap komposti-
rajuc´oj temperature can reach temperatures up to 70 °C.
Composting occurs in humid conditions, the composting
process takes place for months. It is important to under-
stand that a biodegradable plastic is not necessarily
Compostable (can biodegrade over time or under different
conditions), while still compostable plastic biodegradable.
Determination of criteria for compostable plastics is
important because materials that are not suitable for
composting can reduce the final quality of compost
(Muscat et al, 2012).
Compostable plastic is defined by various national and
international standards (eg. EN13432, ASTM D-6900)
relating to industrial composting. EN13432 defines the
characteristics of packaging materials must meet to be
recognized as kompostabilan and acceptable for recycling
of organic solid waste. EN 14995: 2006 extends the scope of
plastic that is used for neambalažne application. These
standards form the basis for a number of certification
systems (Weber et all, 2002).
According to EN 13432 compostable material must have
the following characteristics:
Biodegradable: The ability to convert compostable
materials in CO2under the action of microorganisms.
This property is measured according to EN 14046 (also
published as ISO 14855: biodegradability under control-
led composting conditions). To demonstrate complete
biodegradability, the level of biodegradation of at least
90 % must be achieved in less than 6 months.
Dissolution (the possibility of disintegration): physical
fragmentation and loss of visibility in the final compost,
composting measured by testing in laboratory conditions
The absence of negative effects on the composting
Low levels of heavy metals and the lack of negative
impact on the final compost.
Home composting is different than the industry at a lower
temperature in the compost heap. Plastics must be speci -
fically tested to demonstrate compostability in home com-
posting conditions (Wiles and Scott, 2006)
Markings for biodegradable/compostable material
According to various international standards such as EN
13432, ASTM D 640 and Green Pla biodegradable/compo-
stable materials are marked.
Extrusion, thermo-forming, casting, baking, blow molding,
injection molding, laminating, coating and many other
techniques are the main methods in the processing of
plastics currently used for industrial production of plastic
packaging fed, but mostly it LDPE (low density polyethy-
lene), HDPE (high density polyethylene), PP (polypropy-
lene), PS (polystyrene), PET (polietilentetraftalat) etc. the
good fact is that, renewable at bioosnovi plastics generally
show good adaptation to many of the aforementioned
methods to be used for plastics processing, and require
little or no adjustment. However some species proved to
have limitations properties when it comes to processing, so
for example, have poor mechanical and thermal properties
making the material rigid, dry and stiff, but on the other
hand have a poor performance when it comes to gases and
moisture. In order to remove shortcomings in their proper-
ties need to overcome their own shortcomings before
commercial use of packaging on bioosnovi, for example, to
overcome the brittleness used biodegradable plasticizers.
The plasticizers include glycol and other low molecular
weight polyhydroxy component, polyethers and urea.
All in all, as far as the differences in technology and
production bioplatike ordinary plastic, the only difference
is that during the production of plastic on bioosnovi using
various accessories (additive) to enhance its properties
during processing. PLA is a hybrid material that has similar
properties as synthetic plastics (PET, PP) and very good
processing standard equipment used for processing synthe-
tic plastic. In particular PLA films that develop techniques
such as injection molding and thermo-forming very good
barrier characteristics (section 3.1.). At present, the most
represented film bags and containers for organic foods. Ser-
vices that distribute food are increasingly using cups, pots,
containers, laminated or extrusion coated PLA materials
on the market more accessible.
The aliphatic polyester copolymer PHBV and PHB
(poly-hydroxybutyrate and hydroxyvalerate) are commer-
cially important as bioambalažna / biodegradable plastic
and very well quoted when it comes to the food packaging
industry. PHB is a very good thermoplastic material with a
high degree of crystallization, while PHA with medium
chain length longer behaves as an elastic material for which
has a low melting point and a low degree of crystallization.
But an important feature of PHA material is that it has low
water vapor permeability, making it similar to LDPE. PHA
is formed technique of blowing, extrusion and injection
molding into forms such as films, bottles and containers for
food. It is also very used in the biomedical industry (is non-
toxic and biocompatible in humans). PCBs are also used for
implants, bone plates, sutures and surgical. PHB trans -
parencies above 130 ° C allow a wide range of use and
industrial design. It is important to add that the PCB has a
low permeability and breaks down without any residual
residue. When conditions rashlad
-uvanja and freezing PHB
shows slightly worse performance than the PPA, or at high
temperatures its properties are much stronger and more
stable than the PPA (Chiellini, 2008).
Advantages and disadvantages of bio packaging
By studying the available literature can be found argu-
ments for both positive and negative characteristics of bio-
packaging. The good is the fact that all of the research
leading to the fact that the disadvantages of bio-packaging
and to eliminate its production continues to grow. There
are many different opinions, different experts who express
their opinions on bio-packaging as something good or as
something that will become a reality. Below are separated
some of the advantages and disadvantages of bio-packa-
ging (Tables 3 and 4).
The questionnaire was conducted to find out what is the
awareness of the importance and benefits of the use of
biodegradable packaging at the student population. The
questionnaire was conducted on a sample of 120 respon-
dents, 30 students (15 men and 15 women) with the first
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52
three years of study (undergraduate studies). Included are
four faculties at the University of Mostar as follows:
Faculty of Medicine, University of Mostar (first three
Agriculture and Food Technology, University of Mostar
(undergraduate Food Technology)
Faculty of Mathematics and Science Education, Uni -
versity of Mostar (undergraduate Tourism and Environ-
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Mostar (first three
The survey consists of 12 questions listed each separately
below graph, a graph in the pictures give the answers to the
exam, students in percent.
Graphs 13, 14, 15 and 16 contain a comparison of the
Faculty made to four questions, appropriation at its own
discretion, the questionnaire considering them the most
important demonstration of the entire questionnaire.
Based on research and literature review can be concluded
that biodegradable packaging has a bright future in the
food industry. A number of factors including policy and
legislative changes, as well as world demand for food and
energy resources, will undoubtedly influence the deve -
lopment of biodegradable packaging. There is no doubt
that the production of and demand for this packaging more
to increase partly because of improved properties of bio -
degradable packaging and partly due to the decrease of its
price, which is now unacceptable in relation to the price of
other packaging materials.
By increasing the awareness of people, training and,
most large retail chains acting as the producers and the
consumers can increase the growth and development of
biodegradable packaging. In order to overcome this kind of
packaging the food industry needs to more research. Most
scientists in this field agree that the future of biodegradable
packaging depends on a mixture of bio-nanocomposite ma-
terials and polymers, which will improve its performance.
They agree also that the greatest future of bioambalažnih
material has PHA whose competitiveness depends on pro-
duction, increased production leads to a direct reduction in
The results of the questionnaire have led to the follo-
1. Most students not using biodegradable packaging and
does not favor the products included in that package be-
cause they do not perceive such products on the shelves
of stores, believing that the design of such containers can
be done to their perception and attitude change. Do not
check the “eco-friendly“ labels on products they purcha-
se and are distributed around the thought that such a
designation has an impact on people's thinking. Most
would buy biodegradable bags in the store if the same
price was acceptable, that is the same or not much higher
than a regular bag. In her town are barely noticed con-
tainers for biodegradable waste but in this rare classified
waste prior to its disposal. Opinions are divided about
the impact of non-biodegradable packaging on the
environment and three quarters of them agree that they
see bio-packaging as one of the main ways to preserve
the environment. And in the end most of them believe
that the education the best way of increasing demand for
2. Comparing the four faculties on four separate questions,
the most positive responses give students of Tourism
and Environmental Protection, then students Faculty of
Pharmacy, Faculty of Food Technology and at the end
of medical school students.
Conflict of interest
I declare that there is no conflict of interest in relation to
the publication of this article.
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Properties Biodegradable Paper PE
bag bag bag
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Fat resistant + – +
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Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52 35
CHART 1: Question 1 – Do you use biodegradable packa-
ging? 쐽I do not care; 쐽No; 쐽Yes
CHART 2: Question 2 – Do you prefer the products inclu-
ded in the biodegradable packaging? 쐽I do not
care; 쐽No; 쐽Yes
CHART 3: Question 3 – Have you noticed any products
in biodegradable packaging in stores? 쐽No;
CHART 4: Question 4 – Do you think the design of biode-
gradable packaging can make a popular and
interesting? 쐽No; 쐽Sometimes; 쐽Yes
CHART 5: Question 5 – Would you give more money for
biodegradable bag than for ordinary, non-bio -
degradable plastic bag that costs less? 쐽No;
쐽Yes, if the price difference is not great; 쐽Yes
CHART 6: Question 5 – I check whether “eco-friendly“
symbol on the packaging of the products you
buy? 쐽No; 쐽Sometimes; 쐽Yes
Graphs based on the results of the questionnaire; 1 – Faculty of Medicine;
2 – Food technology; 3 – Tourism and Environment; 4 – Faculty of Pharmacy
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52
CHART 7: Question 7 – Do you think that the symbol of
“eco-friendly“ products to influence the thinking
of people? 쐽No; 쐽I’m not sure; 쐽Yes
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with other waste; 쐽I try to reuse; 쐽Classified
CHART 10: Question 10 – Are you aware of the impact of
degradable packaging on the environment?
쐽I’m not aware of; 쐽Yes and no; 쐽I am
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Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52 37
CHART 11: Question 11 – What is your opi-
nion on bio- packaging? 쐽I am
not sufficiently informed; 쐽Not
see how it can help to preserve
nature; 쐽Main ways to preserve
CHART 12: Question 12 – In what way can in-
crease the demand for bio-packa-
ging? 쐽I do not see a solution;
쐽Prohibiting the use of biode -
gradable packaging; 쐽Education
about its benefits; 쐽Decreasing
CHART 13: Comparison of the number of students from different faculties who use biodegradable packaging
CHART 14: Comparison of the number of students from different faculties who noticed biodegradable packaging in stores
CHART 15: Comparison of the number of students at various colleges that are classified packaging prior to disposal
CHART 16: Comparison of the number of students at various colleges that are considered biodegradable packaging one of
the basic ways to preserve the environment
Comparison of the Faculty; 쐽Faculty of Medicine; 쐽Food technology;
쐽Tourism and Environment; 쐽Faculty of Pharmacy
Journal of Food Safety and Food Quality 68, Heft 2 (2017), Seiten 23–52
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