Functional properties of edible agar-based and starch-based films for food quality preservation

J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Feb 23;53(4):973-81. doi: 10.1021/jf040309s.


Edible films made of agar (AG), cassava starch (CAS), normal rice starch (NRS), and waxy (glutinous) rice starch (WRS) were elaborated and tested for a potential use as edible packaging or coating. Their water vapor permeabilities (WVP) were comparable with those of most of the polysaccharide-based films and with some protein-based films. Depending on the environmental moisture pressure, the WVP of the films varies and remains constant when the relative humidity (RH) is >84%. Equilibrium sorption isotherms of these films have been measured; the Guggenheim-Anderson-de Boer (GAB) model was used to describe the sorption isotherm and contributed to a better knowledge of hydration properties. Surface hydrophobicity and wettability of these films were also investigated using the sessile drop contact angle method. The results obtained suggested the migration of the lipid fraction toward evaporation surface during film drying. Among these polysaccharide-based films, AG-based film and CAS-based film displayed more interesting mechanical properties: they are transparent, clear, homogeneous, flexible, and easily handled. NRS- and WRS-based films were relatively brittle and have a low tension resistance. Microstructure of film cross section was observed by environmental scanning electron microscopy to better understand the effect of the structure on the functional properties. The results suggest that AG-based film and CAS-based films, which show better functional properties, are promising systems to be used as food packaging or coating instead of NRS- and WRS-based films.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agar / chemistry*
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Food Packaging / instrumentation*
  • Food Preservation*
  • Permeability
  • Polysaccharides
  • Quality Control
  • Starch / chemistry*
  • Tensile Strength
  • Water


  • Polysaccharides
  • Water
  • Agar
  • Starch