ABSTRACT:  Increased environmental concerns over the use of certain synthetic packaging and coatings in combination with consumer demands for both higher quality and longer shelf life have led to increased interest in alternative packaging materials research. Naturally renewable biopolymers can be used as barrier coatings on paper packaging materials. These biopolymer coatings may retard unwanted moisture transfer in food products, are good oxygen and oil barriers, are biodegradable, and have potential to replace current synthetic paper and paperboard coatings. Incorporation of antimicrobial agents in coatings to produce active paper packaging materials provides an attractive option for protecting food from microorganism development and spread. The barrier, mechanical, and other properties of biopolymer-coated paper are reviewed. Existing and potential applications for bioactive coatings on paper packaging materials are discussed with examples.