Protein-based films and coatings are an interesting alternative to traditional petroleum-based materials. However, their mechanical and barrier properties need to be enhanced in order to match those of the latter. Physical, chemical, and biochemical methods can be used for this purpose. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the effects of various treatments on whey, soy, and wheat gluten protein-based films and coatings. These three protein sources have been chosen since they are among the most abundantly used and are well described in the literature. Similar behavior might be expected for other protein sources. Most of the modifications are still not fully understood at a fundamental level, but all the methods discussed change the properties of the proteins and resulting products. Mastering these modifications is an important step towards the industrial implementation of protein-based films.
Keywords: barrier properties; biochemical modification; chemical modification; mechanical properties; physical modification; protein-based coatings; protein-based films; soy protein; wheat gluten protein; whey protein.