An experimental nanosilver-coated low-density polyethylene (LDPE) food packaging was incubated with food simulants using a conventional oven and tested for migration according to European Commission Regulation No. 10/2011. The commercial LDPE films were coated using a layer-by-layer (LbL) technique and three levels of silver (Ag) precursor concentration (0.5%, 2% and 5% silver nitrate (AgNO3), respectively) were used to attach antimicrobial Ag. The experimental migration study conditions (time, temperature and food simulant) under conventional oven heating (10 days at 60°C, 2 h at 70°C, 2 h at 60°C or 10 days at 70°C) were chosen to simulate the worst-case storage period of over 6 months. In addition, migration was quantified under microwave heating. The total Ag migrant levels in the food simulants were quantified by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Mean migration levels obtained by ICP-AES for oven heating were in the range 0.01-1.75 mg l(-1). Migration observed for microwave heating was found to be significantly higher when compared with oven heating for similar temperatures (100°C) and identical exposure times (2 min). In each of the packaging materials and food simulants tested, the presence of nanoparticles (NPs) was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). On inspection of the migration observed under conventional oven heating, an important finding was the significant reduction in migration resulting from the increased Ag precursor concentration used to attach Ag on the LDPE LbL-coated films. This observation merits further investigation into the LbL coating process used, as it suggests potential for process modifications to reduce migration. In turn, any reduction in NP migration below regulatory limits could greatly support the antimicrobial silver nanoparticle (AgNP)-LDPE LbL-coated films being used as a food packaging material.
University College Cork ->