Ceramic products are being employed for the production of edible films that are antimicrobial and inhibit the growth of pathogens in food products such as meat. Antimicrobial agents can be incorporated into edible films which can be applied to foods for sealing color, freshness, and flavor. As per researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the microbiological safety of meats and other food products can be enhanced with the use of ceramic products for manufacturing edibles.
Dry and wet processes are the two methods employed for the manufacture of edible films. Both these processes involve dissolving ingredients in a solvent followed by removal of the liquid phase by drying. Dry processes such as compression molding and extrusion are also employed for forming edible films. The materials are mixed at a temperature beyond the glass transition point of the material in an extruder in the dry process. The material gets transformed from solid phase to a molten phase with the increase in mobility. Compression molding presses employed during the process are made from ceramic materials such as silicone.
This process involves the use of methods of solvent evaporation and spreading. It comprises of dissolving biopolymers in suitable solvents for making a film forming solution where the desired functional compounds, fillers, and desired additives are added. The additives can be nanoparticles, antimicrobials, lipids, cross-linkers or plasticizers. This process is followed by spreading over a surface and the evaporation of solvent for forming a film. An edible coating is obtained when the food product is dipped in the solution and dried. It is not possible to scale up the film production to an industrial scale and the production is limited to laboratory scale. Many types of research are going on where ceramic materials are being employed for the purpose of production of edible films.
Tape casting is a process for manufacturing thin layers of ceramic or any material that can be prepared as a liquid mixture. Ceramic tapes are important building blocks with plenty of applications, such as filter systems, temperature sensors, piezoelectric devices, and solid oxide fuel cells.
This technique is popularly employed in ceramic, plastic, paint and paper manufacturing industries. This is now being employed for the production of edible films. Applications of such films are in the drug industry, where such ceramic materials are used for storing drugs in capsules which are safe for human consumption.