• barrier properties;
  • bio-coating;
  • gelatin;
  • coefficient of friction;
  • plastic films;
  • UV transmission


The present research dealt with evaluating barrier, friction and optical properties of three different plastic films after deposition of a gelatin-based bio-coating. The composite films showed improved barrier properties against oxygen and UV radiation. The oxygen transmission rate decreased in the order of 73% for oriented polypropylene (OPP), 56% for low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and 40% for polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The increased UV barrier characteristics ranged from 20% for OPP to 12% for both LDPE and PET. Static and kinetic coefficients of friction significantly decreased both in the film-to-film and in the film-to-metal tests, leading to a desirable value for many applications. However, bio-coated films showed lower optical performances in terms of transparency and haze. Transparency decreased mainly for LDPE (36%), whereas the haze index increased especially for OPP (85%). Non-significant differences were observed as far as the water vapour permeability was concerned, except for a slight reduction for PET (from 15.78 to 13.53 cm3/m2/day at 23°C and 90% of relative humidity), suggesting that non-meaningful effects arose from the addition of a hydrophobic component in the original formulation. Finally, the solubility of the coating in water was around 25% for all the three plastic substrates. The obtained data suggest that the lipid protein coating tested in this study, in spite of its great potential for enhancing some characteristics of plastic packaging films, still exhibits negative aspects which necessitate further improvement. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.