Assessment, development, and optimisation of packaging systems for cheese products using smart packaging technologies

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O'Callaghan, Karen A. M.
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University College Cork
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The principle objective of this thesis was to develop a package to improve packaging function for end use with cheese products. This objective was undertaken by focussing on the use of smart technology, inclusive of the areas of active, intelligent and nanotechnology. Research commenced by conducting a survey to evaluate consumer attitudes towards smart technologies as it was deemed important to gauge acceptance prior to development. Overall, respondents were accepting of the application of smart packaging technologies to cheese products. Intelligent oxygen sensor technology was employed on an industrial scale to evaluate the technical performance of commercial cheese packaging. Sensors demonstrated a high level of package containment failure, particularly with packs subjected to distribution. Natural substances (nanoparticled and non-nanoparticled) were assessed against cheesederived cultures to determine antimicrobial activity for potential use as active packaging agents. Subsequently, the best performing agents, which were those that exhibited antimicrobial activity or an increased solubility, were combined to determine if synergistic relationships could be achieved. From this work, it was apparent that nanoparticled rosemary extract and non-nanoparticled chitosan (both low- and medium-molecular weights) demonstrated the greatest microbial inhibition. The success of non-nanoparticled chitosan led to the laboratory synthesis of nanoparticled chitosan. Manufactured nano-chitosan displayed similar antimicrobial effects to non-nanoparticled chitosan. Finally, agents possessing the greatest antimicrobial activity (non-nanoparticled chitosan, nanoparticled chitosan and nanoparticled rosemary) were individually incorporated into HPMC-based films and the efficacy of these films determined via cheese application. An inhibitive microbial response was achieved, particularly when nanoparticled films were employed. This thesis successfully demonstrated the acceptance, need, operation and viable application of smart technologies to cheese products.
Cheese , Packaging , Smart , Active , Intelligent , Nanoparticles , Consumer acceptance , Optical oxygen sensors , Chitosan , Rosemary
O' Callaghan, K. A. M. 2016. Assessment, development, and optimisation of packaging systems for cheese products using smart packaging technologies. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.