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Food Packaging and Shelf Life 12 (2017) 128–134

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Food Packaging and Shelf Life

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/fpsl

Effect of Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) gel on the physical and MARK
functional properties of fish gelatin films as active packaging

S. Sui China, F. Han Lyna, Z.A. Nur Hanania,b,
Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Food Science and Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia


Keywords: Present study was conducted to investigate the feasibility of the combination of fish gelatin and Aloe gel in
Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) producing composite films and to determine the effect of Aloe gel concentrations (1, 3, 5, 7 and 9% wt/wt) on the
Active packaging physical properties and antioxidant activity of the composite films. The moisture content of the composite films
Biodegradable films was proportional to the concentration of Aloe gel. Also, the water solubility and tensile strength of the films
Fish gelatin
decreased with increasing Aloe gel concentration. However, Aloe gel did not cause any significant effect
Water vapour permeability (WVP)
(p ≥ 0.05) on thickness, water vapour permeability (WVP) and colour of the composite films. The gelatin/Aloe
composite films exhibited smooth surface microstructures similar to non-composite gelatin film when observed
under scanning electron microscope (SEM). The gelatin/Aloe composite films also showed concentration
dependant ABTS and DPPH radical scavenging activities.

1. Introduction as silver ions, thymol or chitosan to produce films or coatings to be used

as active packaging (Kanmani & Rhim, 2014; Kavoosi,
Since the 1970s, the main concern in realizing food security is to Dadfar, & Purfard, 2013; Nowzari, Shábanpour, & Ojagh, 2013).
ensure the availability of worldwide food supply at all times to sustain The genus Aloe belongs to the family Asphodelaceae which char-
the rapid increase in global food consumption and to withstand acteristics include a rosette of large, thick, fleshy leaves. Aloe vera (Aloe
fluctuations in production and prices (United Nations, 1975). One of barbadensis Miller) is a succulent plant species that belongs to this
the obstacles in accomplishing food security is oxidative spoilage. It is genus. Commonly found in hot and dry climates, the inner layer of Aloe
one of the main causes of quality loss in fats and lipids portion of foods, leaves consist of a clear gel containing 99% of water. The remaining
which causes the formation of short chain carbon compounds conse- 1%, as shown in Table 1, consists of polysaccharides (0.55%), sugars
quently leading to undesirable odours and flavours in food. (0.17%), minerals and trace elements (0.16%), amino acids (0.07%),
The usage of biodegradable and sustainable packaging has come lipids and sterols (0.04%) and phenolic compounds (0.01%) which
into attention since the past few decades as an effort to reduce include anthraquinones, aloin and emodin (Liu, Chen, & Shi, 2013;
packaging waste. Among the suitable edible biopolymers include Moghaddasi & Verma, 2011). Known for its functional properties which
gelatin, chitosan, carrageenan and waxes. Fish gelatin is a mixture of includes antimicrobial, wound healing, anti-inflammatory, antioxida-
peptides and proteins produced by the hydrolysis of collagen extract tive and immuno-mediating (Akhoondinasab, Akhoondinasab, & Saberi,
from the skin of fish. It is commonly used in biodegradable films due to 2014; Rodriguez, Martin, & Romero, 2010; Vijayalakshmi et al., 2012),
its low melting temperature, low oxygen permeability, good film- Aloe gel has become a common ingredient in skin care and pharma-
forming ability and emulsifying properties (Avena-Bustillos et al., ceutical products such as health drinks and topical creams. Due to its
2011; Tongnuanchan, Benjakul, & Prodpran, 2014 antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, Aloe gel would make a good
Although fish gelatin has weak mechanical properties, this could be candidate in protecting and prolonging the shelf life of food products.
overcome by the addition of hydrocolloids such as chitosan and Previous studies had involved the formation of edible coating based
carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) or essential oils such as Morinda solely on Aloe vera gel (Benítez, Achaerandio, Sepulcre, & Pujolà, 2013;
citrifolia oil (Jahit, Nazmi, Isa, & Sarbon, 2016; Maryam Adilah & Nur Kumar & Bhatnagar, 2014; Vanaei, Sedaghat, Abbaspour,
Hanani, 2016; Prodpran, Benjakul, Vittayanont, & Nalinanon, 2013). Kaviani, & Azarbad, 2014). Aloe vera also has been added in chitosan
Gelatin has also been used in combination with active ingredients such as a fruit coating (Vieira et al., 2016), chitosan-based film

Corresponding author at: Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Food Science and Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
E-mail address: Hanani@upm.edu.my (Z.A. Nur Hanani).

Received 8 December 2016; Received in revised form 3 April 2017; Accepted 4 April 2017
2214-2894/ © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
S. Sui Chin et al. Food Packaging and Shelf Life 12 (2017) 128–134

Table 1 2.5. Moisture content

Chemical composition of Aloe gel.
The moisture content of each sample was measured according to the
Content Amount
method by Costa et al. (2015). The film was weighed and put into an
Water 99.00% oven (Memmert UF110, USA) at 100 ± 0.2 °C until constant weight
Polysaccharides 0.55% was obtained. The sample was weighed again and the moisture content
Sugars 0.17%
was expressed by the percentage of weight lost during drying according
Minerals and trace elements 0.16%
Amino acids 0.07% to this equation, (w0 − w1/w0) × 100%, where w1 represents the
Lipids and sterols 0.04% weight of the film after drying (g) and w0 represents the initial weight
Phenolic compounds 0.01% of the film (g).

(Khoshgozaran-Abras, Azizi, Hamidy, & Bagheripoor-Fallah, 2012) and 2.6. Solubility

in plantain flour (Gutiérrez & Álvares, 2016). However, the formation
and characterization of gelatin/Aloe composite films is yet to be The film's solubility was determined according to method of
conducted. The development of biodegradable gelatin/Aloe composite Shojaee-Aliabadi et al. (2014). Each film was cut into strips with
films would bring a promising alternative to the food packaging dimensions of 1 × 3 cm2. The strips were weighed followed by immer-
industry. Therefore, the aims of this research were to study the effect sion in 50 ml water under constant agitation at 25 °C. After filtration,
of Aloe vera gel in gelatin and to determine the antioxidant properties as undissolved film was dried at 110 °C to a constant weight. All
active packaging films. measurements were done in triplicates. The solubility of a film was
determined using the equation (w0 − wf/w0) × 100%, where w0 is the
initial weight (g) and wf is the final dry weight (g).
2. Materials and methods

2.7. Colour properties

2.1. Materials

The colour of the composite film was determined by chromameter

The fish gelatin powder used in this study was obtained from
(HunterLab ULTRASCAN PRO Hunter D65, USA). Following the
Halagel Sdn. Bhd. (Kedah, Malaysia). DPPH solution and glycerol were
recording of individual L*, a*, b* parameters, colour was expressed as
obtained from Sigma-Aldrich Co. (St. Louis, MO, USA) whereas absolute
chroma index. All measurements were done in triplicates.
ethanol and ABTS solution were provided by Merck and Co.
(Darmstadt, Germany). Potassium persulfate used in ABTS free radical
scavenging assay was obtained from R & M Chemicals (Selangor, 2.8. Water vapour permeability (WVP)
The WVP was measured using the method described by Nur Fatin
Nazurah and Nur Hanani (2016) according to the standard method
2.2. Preparation of Aloe vera gel extract ASTM E96-90 (ASTM, 1990). Each sample was cut into a rectangular
shape and then mounted on the top of a crucible containing 18 ml of
Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) leaves were harvested at Taman distilled water. The samples were secured around the rim of the
Pertanian Universiti (TPU), UPM. The leaves were washed with tap crucible with a rubber band. The crucibles were maintained under
water and then rinsed with distilled water in order to remove all the dirt controlled conditions of temperature and humidity (23 ± 2 °C and
and soil on the surface of the leaves. The rind was removed to reveal the 50 ± 5% RH). The weight of each crucible was recorded at 1 h
flesh. The flesh was then washed again with tap water. After that, the intervals for 8 h. Measurements were done in triplicates. The WVP of
Aloe vera gel was extracted from the flesh by scraping with a sterile each sample was calculated by the equation (W × L)/(A × P) where w
spatula. The extraction was kept below 5 °C until further use. represents the slope of weight gained vs time plot (g s−1), L is the
thickness of the sample (m), A represents the test area (m2) and P
2.3. Preparation of gelatin and Aloe vera gel composite films represents the partial pressure difference of water vapour across the
film (Pa).
Gelatin dispersion (6% wt/v) was prepared by dissolving 6 g of fish
gelatin powder in 100 ml of distilled water. The mixture was heated at 2.9. Mechanical properties
50 °C for 30 min until no visible particles were observed. Then, 30%
wt/wt of glycerol was added into the gelatin dispersion. Heating was Tensile strength (TS) and elongation at break (EAB) were deter-
continued at 45 °C for 15 min. Aloe vera extraction was added into the mined using the Instron Dual column tabletop universal testing systems
gelatin dispersion at different concentrations (1, 3, 5, 7 and 9% wt/wt) (Model 3365, Instron Corporation, USA) following the guidelines of
with respect to the fish gelatin powder. The Aloe gel/gelatin dispersion ASTM Standard Method D 882 (ASTM, 1985). The initial grip separa-
was stirred at ambient temperature (25 °C) until the Aloe gel completely tion was set at 5 mm per minute with film strips by the length of 60 mm
dissolved. Each composite film making solution was evenly spread onto and width of 18 mm.
a 150 mm petri dish and was dried at ambient temperature for 24 h.
Dried films were manually peeled off and were conditioned at a
2.10. Surface microstructure
temperature of 23 ± 2 °C and at a relative humidity (RH) of
50 ± 5% before further analyses.
All films were analyzed using field emission scanning electron
microscopy (FE-SEM, S-4800, Hitachi Co., Ltd., Matsuda, Japan) with
2.4. Thickness an accelerating voltage of 15 kV. The samples were sputter-coated with
a layer of gold in a vacuum followed by fixation to the stage using
The film thickness was measured using a mechanical micrometre double-sided adhesive tape. Each sample was transferred to the cold
(No. 2046S, Mitutoyo, Japan) with a precision of 0.01 mm. Ten stage of the SEM chamber and observed at an acceleration voltage of
measurements were taken along the perimeter of each film. 15 kV and a magnification of 1000×.

S. Sui Chin et al. Food Packaging and Shelf Life 12 (2017) 128–134

2.11. DPPH free radical scavenging assay solution (Ahmad et al., 2015). However, Aloe gel consists of 99% of
water and only 1% of solid components (Moghaddasi & Verma, 2011).
DPPH radical scavenging activity of sample was determined accord- Thus, the peptide bond of fish gelatin could still form tight network
ing to the method of Yang, Cai, Tai, Zeng and Ding (2010) with slight with the presence of Aloe gel. This means that the components in Aloe
modifications. Each film sample weighing 25 mg was dissolved in 5 ml gel could be distributed in the film without affecting the film thickness
of ethanol to make an extract. Each extract (0.1 ml) was mixed with (Cheng, Wang, & Weng, 2010). Rattaya, Benjakul, and Prodpran (2009)
3.9 ml of 0.01 mmol L−1 DPPH solution. The mixture was shaken reported similar results whereby the thickness did not change when
vigorously and then incubated in darkness and at an ambient tempera- oxygenated seaweed extract was added into fish skin gelatin films.
ture for 30 min. Each sample was analyzed using a spectrophotometer
LR45227 (Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA) at light wavelength of 3.2. Moisture content
517 nm. A control sample was prepared by replacing the extract with
absolute ethanol. All tests were performed in triplicates. The percentage The moisture content of the composite films increased significantly
of radical scavenging was calculated by dividing the difference in the (p < 0.05) from 11.30% in the control films to 23.73% when the
absorbance values of control (Acontrol) and the sample (Asample) by the concentration of the Aloe gel increased to 9% (Table 2). The moisture
absorbance of the control, using the equation (Acontrol − Asample/ content of the film is contributed by the total water molecules occupied
Acontrol) × 100%. in the network microstructures of the composite films (Jiang, Li,
Chai, & Leng, 2010). Fig. 1 shows the schematic diagram of gelatin
2.12. ABTS free radical scavenging assay interactions in the absence and presence of Aloe gel. The increase in
moisture content could be explained by the reduction in the gelatin–-
ABTS analysis was carried out based on the steps of Sun et al. gelatin interaction with the addition of Aloe gel, consequently increas-
(2015). ABTS with a concentration of 7 mmol L−1 was mixed with ing the availability of the free hydroxyl group to absorb more water
potassium persulfate with the concentration of 140 mmol L−1 and kept (Kanmani & Rhim, 2014). The solid contents of Aloe gel might have
in darkness at 25 °C for 12–16 h. ABTS solution was made by diluting interacted with the free radicals of fish gelatin and hence increased the
the mixture with 50% ethanol to get an absorbance of 0.70 ± 0.02 at retention of water molecules (Bhat & Karim, 2014). This was supported
734 nm. Then, 25 mg of each film sample was dissolved in 5 ml of by a study by Kanmani and Rhim (2014), in which the addition of silver
ethanol to make a film extract. Each film extract was mixed with the nanoparticle to fish gelatin films caused an increase in the moisture
ABTS solution (1:30, v/v) and was incubated in the dark for 6 minutes content of the composite films.
at room temperature. Absorbance was measured using a spectrophot-
ometer LR45227 (Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA) at light wavelength at 3.3. Solubility
734 nm. Absolute ethanol was used to replace the film extract as a
negative control. The percentage of radical scavenging was calculated Solubility of a food packaging film is an important criterion
using the equation (Acontrol − Asample/Acontrol) × 100%. especially for food products with high moisture content. Table 2 shows
the solubility of the films. In present study, the control film showed the
2.13. Statistical analysis highest solubility (67.66%) among all the films and the addition of 1%
of Aloe gel decreased the solubility of the films significantly (p < 0.05)
Data was subjected to one-way analysis of variant (ANOVA) by to 61.32%. As the concentration of the Aloe gel increased from 1 to 3%,
means of Minitab (Version 17, Minitab, Pennsylvania, USA) Statistical the solubility showed a significant (p < 0.05) reduction to 57.92%.
Software. The significant differences of the readings were determined This observation was not in agreement with the previous studies, in
by Tukey's test with the level of significance set at p < 0.05. which the solubility of the films varied proportionally with the moisture
content (Fundo, Quintas, & Silva, 2011; Ghasemlou et al., 2013; Nur
3. Results and discussion Fatin Nazurah & Nur Hanani, 2016). An explanation for this observa-
tion would be fish gelatin is hydrophilic in nature and water molecules
3.1. Thickness were able to permeate the control film which contain only fish gelatin
easily, which caused the control film to exhibit the highest solubility in
The thickness of each gelatin/Aloe films was recorded in Table 2. the among all the films.
The films obtained were between 63.00 μm and 71.25 μm. It was found Besides, cellulose which is a non-soluble fibre that is found in the
that there was no significant difference (p ≥ 0.05) between the Aloe gel might have contributed to the reduction in solubility (Munoz,
thickness of the control film and the film with 1% of Aloe gel. The Leal, Quitral, & Cardemil, 2015). Similar observation was reported in a
thickness of the film depends on the solid content in the film-forming study by Hoque, Benjakul, and Prodpran (2011), where the solubility of
gelatin films reduced with the addition of different herbs extracts which
Table 2 showed that herbs extract might form strong structure of film network
Thickness, moisture content and solubility of the gelatin composite films. through high extent of protein–polyphenol interaction.

Films Thickness (μm) Moisture content (%) Solubility (%)

3.4. Colour properties
a d a
Control 71.25 ± 2.50 11.30 ± 0.47 67.66 ± 0.35
Gelatin + 1% of 63.00 ± 3.56a 18.56 ± 0.65c 61.32 ± 0.50b Colour is a very important characteristic in selecting a suitable food
Aloe gel packaging because it affects the product aesthetics and consumer
a c cd
Gelatin + 3% of 67.50 ± 5.50 17.54 ± 0.52 57.92 ± 0.86 preference. Generally, a clear film is preferable so that the appearance
Aloe gel
Gelatin + 5% of 70.00 ± 6.29a 21.88 ± 0.73b 59.33 ± 0.51c
of the contents would be displayed clearly. Table 3 shows the colour
Aloe gel difference of the composite films with different concentration of Aloe
Gelatin + 7% of 66.25 ± 4.79a 22.45 ± 0.77ab 56.78 ± 1.21de gel. Three parameters that were taken into consideration were lightness
Aloe gel (L*), green-red (a*) and blue-yellow (b*) colour, and were used as the
Gelatin + 9% of 70.00 ± 4.08a 23.73 ± 0.51a 55.57 ± 0.45e
index to show the colour difference between the sample and control.
Aloe gel
Film colour could be affected by the type, nature and concentration of
Means in the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different biopolymer incorporated (Ahmad et al., 2015). A lower L* value
(p < 0.05). indicated that the film is darker in colour. The results in the present

S. Sui Chin et al. Food Packaging and Shelf Life 12 (2017) 128–134

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of gelatin interactions in the (a) absence and (b) presence of Aloe gel.

Table 3 Table 4
Colour properties of the gelatin composite films. WVP and mechanical properties of gelatin composite films.

Films Colour Films WVP Tensile Strength EAB (%)

(g s−1 m−1 Pa−1) (MPa)
L* a* b*
Control 3.03 ± 0.08abc 11.67 ± 1.12a 1.47 ± 0.03b
Control 86.77 ± 0.46ab −0.26 ± 0.05b 0.78 ± 0.08b Gelatin + 1% of 2.99 ± 0.02abc 11.82 ± 1.18a 1.88 ± 0.18a
Gelatin + 1% of Aloe gel 85.83 ± 0.84b −0.16 ± 0.04a 0.74 ± 0.01b Aloe gel
Gelatin + 3% of Aloe gel 86.98 ± 0.63ab −0.24 ± 0.02ab 0.92 ± 0.06b Gelatin + 3% of 3.10 ± 0.02a 10.44 ± 0.91a 1.95 ± 0.14a
Gelatin + 5% of Aloe gel 86.18 ± 0.50ab −0.25 ± 0.04b 1.07 ± 0.04ab Aloe gel
Gelatin + 7% of Aloe gel 87.24 ± 0.41a −0.19 ± 0.06ab 1.42 ± 0.38a Gelatin + 5% of 3.04 ± 0.20ab 7.35 ± 1.66b 1.88 ± 0.08a
Gelatin + 9% of Aloe gel 82.33 ± 0.45c −0.15 ± 0.03a 1.05 ± 0.01b Aloe gel
Gelatin + 7% of 2.76 ± 0.21bc 6.26 ± 0.20b 1.87 ± 0.14a
Means in the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different Aloe gel
(p < 0.05). Gelatin + 9% of 2.73 ± 0.15c 5.76 ± 0.39b 1.94 ± 0.17a
Aloe gel

study showed that the increase in concentration of Aloe gel up to 7% did

Means in the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different
not cause a significant change (p ≥ 0.05) in the lightness of the film. (p < 0.05).
For a* and b* values, no trend was observed with the increase in Aloe
gel concentration. This is because Aloe gel and fish gelatin solution are molecules that could pass through the film.
both transparent. In addition, all the films were dried under room
temperature thus eliminating the occurrence of Maillard reaction which 3.6. Mechanical properties
will cause the browning of gelatin (Riquelme, Díaz-Calderón,
Enrione, & Matiacevich, 2015). An exceptional case occurred where TS and EAB are the main parameters of mechanical strength of
the gelatin film with 9% Aloe gel was significantly darker (p < 0.05) composite films which indicate the maximum tensile stress and their
than the other films. This might be due to the non-soluble solids in the flexibility, respectively. Table 4 shows the TS and EAB of the gelatin/
Aloe gel that caused the film to be cloudier compared to the other films. Aloe composite films. The TS value of the control film was 11.67 MPa
and improved insignificantly (p ≥ 0.05) to 11.82 MPa with the addition
3.5. Water vapour permeability (WVP) of 1% of Aloe gel. However, the addition of 5% of Aloe gel to the films
significantly reduced (p < 0.05) the tensile strength from 10.44 MPa
WVP is a very important characteristic of a packaging material. to 7.35 MPa. The mechanical properties of the films depend on the intra
Ideally, interactions between the wrapped product and the environment and intermolecular interactions of the polymer chains in the network
should be minimal to prolong the shelf life of the products. WVP is (Ahmad et al., 2015). Incorporation of additives other than cross-
defined as the transmission rate of water to the driving force of vapour linking agents generally lowers TS, as reported by Cagri, Ustunol, and
pressure (Li, Liu, Ye, Wang, & Wang, 2015). According to Table 4, the Ryser (2001). The decrease in tensile strength with the addition of Aloe
control film showed the reading of 3.03 g s−1 m−1 Pa−1 and the gel might be due to different cross linking of the polymers. In present
addition of 1% of Aloe gel caused an insignificant decrease (p ≥ 0.05) study, the addition of Aloe gel disturbed the interaction and alignment
to 2.99 g s−1 m−1 Pa−1. Further increment of Aloe gel concentration in among the gelatin chains. This is in agreement with Kołodziejska,
gelatin films reduced the WVP values. However, the differences were Piotrowska, Bulge, and Tylingo (2006), in which the properties of
not significant (p ≥ 0.05). gelatin/chitosan composite films plasticized with different hydrophilic
The reduction in WVP could be explained by the formation of cross compounds reported a decrease in tensile strength. Similar results were
linkages between gelatin and polysaccharides in the Aloe gel which obtained in the research by Kanatt, Lahare, Chawla, and Sharma (2015)
reduced the free space available for the movement of water molecules. in which decrease in tensile strength was observed with the addition of
The result in present study was supported by a research done by Denavi aqueous seaweed extract.
et al. (2009), in which a reduction in WVP was observed in soybean The EAB value was the lowest in the control film and increased
incorporated gelatin composite films. Likewise, WVP was decreased by significantly (p < 0.05) from 1.47 to 1.88% when 1% Aloe gel was
the combination Lycium barbarum fruit extract into chitosan films added. This showed that Aloe gel played a role as a plasticizer in the fish
(Wang et al., 2015). The polysaccharides that are present in the Aloe gelatin matrix which resulted in a change in the ductile properties of
gel might have increased the density of the composite films by reducing the film (Ramos, Jiménez, Peltzer, & Garrigós, 2012). Aloe gel might
the interstitial space in the gelatin matrix, leading to a more compact have reduced the intermolecular forces and increase the mobility of
packing of the gelatin chains, thus reducing the amount of water gelatin chains (Lavorgna, Piscitelli, Mangiacapra, & Buonocore, 2010).

S. Sui Chin et al. Food Packaging and Shelf Life 12 (2017) 128–134

Fig. 2. SEM micrographs of gelatin/Aloe composite films with 1000× magnification.

This is because the hydrophilic constituents in the Aloe gel fits easily 3.8. DPPH and ABTS
into gelatin network and by forming strong hydrogen bonds, gelatin–-
gelatin interactions was reduced, which resulted in a better plasticity of Antioxidant packaging is able to extend the shelf life of the food
the films (Gómez-Guillén et al., 2009). This is in agreement with products by preventing oxidative deterioration. In present study, two
Khoshgozaran-Abras et al. (2012) in which Aloe gel effectively im- antioxidants tests, ABTS and DPPH, were performed to evaluate the
proved the flexibility of chitosan films. Besides, the water content in the antioxidant capacities of Aloe gel. According to Chun, Kim, Moon, Kang,
Aloe gel also performed as a plasticizer (Ismail, Mansor, Majeed, & Man, and Lee (2003), antioxidant capacities by both assays exhibited a strong
2016). Thus, high concentration of Aloe gel led to better plasticity of the correlation with total phenolic content, which makes both assays
films. suitable for this study, for phenolic compounds are abundant in Aloe
The tensile strength of the films could be improved by the addition gel. Both of these approaches are based on electron transfer of the
of hydrocolloids such as chitosan or starch. As reported by Zhong and phenolic compounds and involve the reduction of a coloured oxidant
Xia (2008), the addition of cassava starch and gelatin significantly and the change in colour is detected by spectrophotometer.
improved the tensile strength of chitosan films. This shows that these From Fig. 3, the scavenging effect of DPPH for control film showed
biopolymers might work in synergy in improving the tensile strength of the reading of 65.78%. When 1% of Aloe gel was added into the film,
the films. the scavenging percentage increased significantly (p < 0.05) to
67.94%. With the increasing concentration of the Aloe gel in the films
from 1 to 9%, the scavenging effect increased significantly (p < 0.05)
3.7. Surface microstructure from 67.94 to 74.76%.
According to Pires et al. (2011), the radical scavenging activity of
Fig. 2 shows the SEM micrographs of the surface of gelatin/Aloe gel hake protein film incorporated with thyme oil ranging from concentra-
composite films. The results indicated that the surface microstructure of tion of 0.025 to 0.1 mL/g protein achieved a 13% recovery percentage.
the gelatin/Aloe films were compact and smooth without the appear- Besides, protein films incorporated with origanum and clove extract has
ance of cracks and pores. Besides, the film surfaces appeared homo- been observed to exhibit radical scavenging activity of DPPH at around
genous with no obvious phase separation. This shows that Aloe gel was 47 and 85%, respectively (Teixeira et al., 2014). The radical scavenging
successfully incorporated into the gelatin films without affecting the activity was contributed by the phenolic compounds and these com-
surface microstructure of the films. This is because Aloe gel dissolved pounds increased along the concentration of Aloe gel. Phenolic com-
completely in the film-forming solution due to its high solubility and pounds exhibit redox properties which absorb and neutralize free
hydrophilic properties. radicals (Thaipong, Boonprakob, Crosby, Cisneros-Zevallos, & Hawkins

S. Sui Chin et al. Food Packaging and Shelf Life 12 (2017) 128–134

also be involved in the scavenging activity (Nejatzadeh-Barandozi,

2013) to achieve high antioxidant performance as exhibited in DPPH

4. Conclusions

The findings suggest that incorporation of Aloe gel into gelatin films
is able to lower the solubility of the films significantly (p < 0.05)
without causing a significant change in the thickness, colour and
surface microstructure of the films (p ≥ 0.05). The mechanical proper-
ties of the composite films weaken with the increasing Aloe gel
concentration and they have significantly lower (p < 0.05) tensile
strength compared to the control film. However, plasticity of the films
improves significantly (p < 0.05) even with the incorporation of 1%
Fig. 3. DPPH radical scavenging activity of gelatin films with 0–9% Aloe gel. Readings Aloe gel. Antioxidative property of the Aloe/gelatin films increases in a
with error bar that do not share a letter are significantly different. concentration dependent manner with the Aloe gel. Overall, the
composite films have a substantial potential as active packaging
material to help to prolong the shelf life and maintaining the quality
and safety of food products, especially products that are susceptible
towards oxidative deterioration. Further studies are required to deter-
mine the antimicrobial properties of the composite films to help
preventing the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria in food products.
The production of a composite film with decent antimicrobial and
antioxidant properties will be a major leap forward in extending the
shelf life of food products, ultimately preventing food wastage.


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