Pullulan-based films and coatings for food packaging: Present applications, emerging opportunities, and future challenges



Societal and industrial demands for lower environmental impact, cost effectiveness, and high-performance goods and services are increasingly impacting the choice of technologies which are developed and deployed in consumer products. Like many other sectors, food packaging is moving to new technologies; the use of biopolymers is one of the most promising strategies toward an optimized use of traditional packaging materials (e.g., oil-based plastics) without impairing the goal of extending shelf life. Among other food packaging materials, pullulan is attracting much attention due to its unique features. The goal of this review is to provide an overview of current and emerging applications of pullulan within the food packaging sector. In particular, the functional properties of interest for the food packaging industry will be discussed in light of the physicochemical attributes of this exopolysaccharide. Future challenges that may dictate the successful penetration of pullulan in the food packaging market are also outlined. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40539.