News Release

Recent advances in edible food packaging

Reports and Proceedings

American Chemical Society

Packaging helps keep food safe from spoilage, and currently, many food items are wrapped in plastic. But growing concerns about the effects of plastic when it ends up in the environment have prompted researchers to explore alternative packaging materials, including those that can be eaten right along with the foods they are protecting. Below are some recent papers published in ACS journals that report on progress toward edible food packaging materials. Reporters can request free access to these papers by emailing

“Bioactive Peptides: A Promising Alternative to Chemical Preservatives for Food Preservation”
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Oct. 14, 2021 
In this review of bioactive peptides, researchers describe the benefits of using these compounds to preserve food. They also discuss the latest research to incorporate them into edible films and coatings, which can transport these additives to the foods they protect.

“Laccase-Catalyzed Grafting of Lauryl Gallate on Chitosan To Improve Its Antioxidant and Hydrophobic Properties”
Oct. 3, 2021 
Chitosan, a chemically modified form of chitin, which is commonly obtained from the exoskeletons of sea creatures such as crabs and shrimp, is being pursued by many researchers as a basis for plastic alternatives. Here, researchers added a phenolic compound called lauryl gallate to chitosan with a process called grafting, and showed that the resulting material has the potential to be used as an edible coating.    

“Plasticization Efficiency and Characteristics of Monosaccharides, Disaccharides, and Low-Molecular-Weight Polysaccharides for Starch-Based Materials”
ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Oct. 3, 2021 
As a step toward a new packaging material, these researchers evaluated various sugar molecules as plasticizers, or molecules that could make starch-based films more flexible. Starch is biodegradable and edible, and therefore is a good candidate for packaging that people can consume.

Note: ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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