Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

Development and characterization of silver-based antimicrobial ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH) films for food-packaging applications.

PMID 22577863


The use of silver as an antimicrobial in the food area has raised wide interest in recent years. In the present work, 0.001-10 wt % silver ions was satisfactorily incorporated into an ethylene-vinyl alcohol (EVOH) copolymer matrix by a solvent casting technique. The antibacterial efficacy of the composite was evaluated under laboratory conditions and in contact with some foods. The ionic compound did not affect the crystallinity or the water-induced plasticization of the materials and was homogeneously distributed across the surface and thickness of the films. When immersed in water, sorption-induced release of 50-100% of the silver ions took place in <30 min. In the bacterial minimal growth medium M9, the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the film was in the range of 0.01-0.1 ppm. High protein content food samples displayed low susceptibility to the films (<1 log reduction in any case), whereas low protein content food samples exhibited no detectable bacterial counts for films with 1 and 10 wt % silver and about 2 log reduction for films with 0.1 wt % silver. These results represent a step forward in the understanding of silver antimicrobial efficacy and its possible application in the food-packaging industry, most likely as food coatings.