Development of TiO2 powder-coated food packaging film and its ability to inactivate Escherichia coli in vitro and in actual tests

Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 Apr 30;123(3):288-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2007.12.017. Epub 2007 Dec 28.


Titanium dioxide (TiO2) has attracted a great deal of attention as a photocatalytic disinfecting material in the food and environmental industry. TiO2 has been used to inactivate a wide variety of microorganisms in many applications. In the present study, we aimed to develop a TiO2 powder-coated packaging film and clarify its ability to inactivate Escherichia coli both in vitro and in actual tests, using two different particle sizes and two types of illumination at different intensities. No inhibition effect of the testing method itself on the growth of E. coli was observed. The cells of E. coli were found to have decreased 3 log CFU/ml after 180 min of illumination by two 20 W black-light bulbs (wavelength of 300-400 nm) on TiO2-coated oriented-polypropylene (OPP) film, while E. coli decreased 1 log CFU/m with black-light illumination of uncoated OPP film. The results showed that both ultraviolet A (UVA; wavelength of 315-400 nm) alone and TiO2-coated OPP film combined with UVA reduced the number of E. coli cell in vitro, but that the reduction of E. coli cell numbers was greater by TiO2-coated OPP film combined with UVA. The antimicrobial effect of TiO2-coated film is dependent on the UVA light intensity (0, <0.05 and 1 mW/cm2) and the kind of artificial light (black-light and daylight fluorescent bulbs), but it is independent of the particle size of TiO2 coating on the surface of OPP film. The surviving cell numbers of E. coli on TiO2-coated film decreased 3 log and 0.35 log CFU/ml after 180 min of illumination by two 20 W black bulbs and two 20 W daylight fluorescent bulbs, respectively. Despite the lesser efficacy of the photocatalytic method with fluorescent lights, the survival of E. coli cells using this method was 50% of that using fluorescent lights alone. In the actual test, the number of E. coli cells from cut lettuce stored in a TiO2-coated film bag irradiated with UVA light decreased from 6.4 on Day 0 to 4.9 log CFU/g on Day 1, while that of an uncoated film bag irradiated with UVA light decreased from 6.4 to 6.1 log CFU/g after 1 day of storage. The result shows that the TiO2-coated film could reduce the microbial contamination on the surface of solid food products and thus reduce the risks of microbial growth on fresh-cut produce.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Food Packaging / methods*
  • Food Preservation / methods
  • Humans
  • Lettuce / microbiology*
  • Particle Size
  • Photosensitizing Agents / pharmacology*
  • Powders
  • Titanium / pharmacology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Powders
  • titanium dioxide
  • Titanium