Aloe vera and its use in food preservation and packaging
Wastage of perishable foods is an enormous challenge in the food sectors. Aloe vera is one of the oldest remedies for numerous human ailments because of its antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other functional properties. Thus, it has been popular for applications in various fields including food preservation, sustainable packaging, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. Now a new review article on A. vera, its bioactive components, processing, and applications in food especially in preservation and packaging has been published.
Promising sustainable alternative
A. vera and its various active components are being used as natural antimicrobial, antioxidants, and preservative in biopolymer-based edible films and coatings for extending shelf life of perishable food items as sustainable alternatives to synthetic chemicals. A. vera is also used in health drinks and other beverages in the form of powder, as a functional bioactive component. Processing of A. vera by conventional thermal techniques at elevated temperature can degrade major bioactive compounds, and therefore, non-thermal processing technologies such as sonication, high pressure processing and membrane processing are preferred. As a natural food preservative, A. vera can protect food products from oxidative and microbial deteriorations, improve their texture, and enhance nutritional/health-promoting value.
A. vera is non-toxic to environment and human at the concentrations required for food preservation and packaging applications, and thus it can be a promising sustainable alternative to synthetic chemical-based preservatives, antioxidants, and antimicrobial agents.
The review has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 166, May 2022.