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Food Chemistry 103 (2007) 295300

The water vapour permeability, mechanical properties and solubility

of sh gelatinchitosan lms modied with transglutaminase or
1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC) and
plasticized with glycerol
Ilona Koodziejska *, Barbara Piotrowska
Department of Food Chemistry, Technology and Biotechnology, Chemical Faculty, Gdansk University of Technology,
G. Narutowicza 11/12, 80-952 Gdansk, Poland

Received 7 February 2006; received in revised form 9 May 2006; accepted 25 July 2006


The eect of glycerol on the mechanical and water barrier properties, as well as on the water solubility, of sh gelatinchitosan lms
(4:1, w/w) cross-linked with TGase or EDC was determined. The addition of glycerol in concentrations up to 30% (of the substrate mass)
to the sh gelatinchitosan lms modied with TGase or EDC did not change their solubility in buers of pH 3 and 6 at 25 C or during
heating at 100 C for 60 min. The chemical and enzymatic cross-linking of the components did not increase the water barrier properties
of the lms. WVP of the lms modied with EDC and TGase was not aected by glycerol at concentrations up to 25% of the substrate
mass. Tensile strength of the lms decreased after modication of the components with TGase or EDC, respectively, by about 25% and
40%. The elongations of the enzymatically modied lms containing 20% of glycerol and of chemically modied lms containing 15% of
glycerol were, respectively, about 8 and 13 times higher than those of unplasticized lms; however, the tensile strengths of plasticized
lms were, respectively, 2.5 and 5 times lower.
 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Fish gelatinchitosan lms; Crosslinking; Transglutaminase; 1-Ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide; Glycerol; Water vapour per-
meability (WVP); Mechanical properties

1. Introduction Krochta & De Mulder-Johnston, 1997). Furthermore, nat-

ural polymers (e.g. collagen and gelatin or chitosan or mix-
So far non-biodegradable, synthetic materials are still tures of these components) obtained from by-products of
those most often used as food packages. The very promis- the food industry can be used for producing edible lms.
ing possibility of reducing wastes is to replace such materi- Chitosan is a valuable component of natural packaging
als with environmentally friendly packaging materials lms. It is generally obtained from natural chitin after its
based on natural polymers, such as proteins and polysac- N-deacetylation by an alkaline treatment. Chitosan is a
charides. Additionally, these biodegradable, edible lms biodegradable and non-toxic polymer. Because of its bio-
have abilities to carry food additives, such as antimicrobial logical activity, it can potentially serve also as a bacterici-
agents, antioxidants, vitamins, avours and colours dal agent in food packaging materials (Coma,
(Appendini & Hotchkiss, 2002; Kester & Fennema, 1986; Deschamps, & Martial-Gros, 2003; Coma et al., 2002; Tan-
abe, Okitsu, Tachibana, & Yamauchi, 2002; Zhai, Zhao,
Yoshii, & Kume, 2004; Zheng & Zhu, 2003). The source
Corresponding author. Tel.: +48 58 3472656; Fax: +48 58 3472694. of protein in the composite lms could be gelatin obtained
E-mail address: (I. Koodziejska). from sh oals.

0308-8146/$ - see front matter  2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
296 I. Koodziejska, B. Piotrowska / Food Chemistry 103 (2007) 295300

The properties of gelatins are largely inuenced by the solubility of the lms at dierent temperatures and pH val-
origin of raw material. The gelatin produced from skins ues was also studied. The possibility of using glycerol as a
of sh living in cold waters does not gel at room tempera- plasticizing agent of sh gelatinchitosan lms was esti-
ture (Norland, 1990). Until now, gelatin from skins of cold- mated. The nal goal of our study was to design biodegrad-
adapted sh has not been applied as a component of biode- able material with good mechanical and barrier properties,
gradable packages. However, lms prepared from cod skin suitable for packages of many kinds of food products with
gelatin are completely soluble in water, even at room tem- dierent acidities and contents of moisture.
perature (Piotrowska, Koodziejska, Januszewska-Jozwiak,
& Wojtasz-Pajak, 2005). Therefore, such lms are not suit-
able for coating or packaging of many food products. This 2. Materials and methods
problem arises when the packaging material should be
resistant to solubilization in contact with acidic foods or 2.1. Materials
during heating. Our previous experiments showed that
the solubility of sh gelatin lms and sh gelatinchitosan Chitosan (deacetylation degree 73%) was obtained from
lms (4:1, w/w) could be limited by cross-linking of the krill chitin in the Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia accord-
components with transglutaminase (TGase) or with 1- ing to Koodziejska, Wojtasz-Pajak, Ogonowska, and
ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC) Sikorski (2000). Fish gelatin was obtained from Baltic
(Koodziejska, Piotrowska, Bulge, & Tylingo, 2006; Pio- cod skins, as described by Koodziejska, Kaczorowski, Pio-
trowska, 2004). EDC, similarly to TGase, participates in trowska, and Sadowska (2004). EDC was purchased from
forming amide bonds (Kuijpers et al., 2000; Wissink Sigma Chemical Co. The preparation of commercial TGase
et al., 2001). Moreover, in the presence of EDC, apart from (Ajinomoto Cos Transglutaminase Activa-WM, Japan),
amide bonds involving the amine groups of chitosan or containing 99% of maltodextrin and 1% of enzyme, was
proteins, additional bonds are formed, involving the amine used for the enzymatic modication. Six grams of the dry
or carboxylic groups of protein and hydroxyl groups of preparation were mixed with 20 ml of cold water in an
chitosan (Chiou & Wu, 2004; Wang et al., 2003). ice bath for 15 min and centrifuged at 6000g for 15 min
TGase has been used to crosslink some protein lms at 4 C. The protein content in the enzyme solution was
(Mahmoud & Savello, 1993; Motoki, Aso, Seguro, & determined according to Lowry, Rosebrough, Farr, and
Nio, 1987), whereby the solubility of the lms was Randall (1951).
decreased (de Carvalho & Grosso, 2004; Yildirim & Hetti-
arachchy, 1998). However, the results (regarding the eect
of cross-linking), using TGase, on the water vapour perme- 2.2. Enzymatic and chemical modications
ability (WVP) and mechanical properties were inconsistent,
probably due to dierent protein components of the lms, Fish gelatinchitosan lms (4:1, w/w) were obtained by
various conditions of enzymatic reaction and preparation mixing a 2% solution of chitosan (pH 5 adjusted with
of lms. Therefore, the rst aim of our study was to deter- 0.5 M HCl) with a 25% solution of gelatin. The resulting
mine the mechanical and water barrier properties of the mixture was occasionally stirred during 2 h of incubation
sh gelatinchitosan lms modied with TGase. To com- at 50 C and centrifuged at 2000g and 20 C for 15 min.
pare results, parallel experiments were carried out using To the sh gelatinchitosan solutions, glycerol was
lms, chemically modied with EDC. added in the range 1535% of the substrate mass, EDC
One of the unfavourable properties of natural polymer to the nal concentration of 30 mM or TGase at 0.2 mg/
lms, especially protein lms, apart from excessive water ml. The lms were formed just after adding of TGase or
solubility and poor WVP, is the fragility of the material. EDC, as described below. The enzymatic and chemical
For this reason, such lms have to be plasticized. Hydro- reactions were occurring during that process.
philic plasticizers are most often used to improve exibility
of the lms (Arvanitoyannis & Biliaderis, 1999; Arvanito-
yannis, Nakayama, & Aiba, 1998a; Butler, Vergano, Tes- 2.3. Film formation
tin, Bunn, & Wiles, 1996; Caner, Vergano, & Wiles, 1998;
Cuq, Gontard, Cuq, & Guilbert, 1997; Sobral, Menegalli, Film-forming solution was poured on a polyester sur-
Hubinger, & Roques, 2001; Yang & Paulson, 2000). Incor- face. To obtain similar thickness of the samples, varying
poration of plasticizers into natural polymer lms elimi- areas of lm-forming surfaces were used. The lms modi-
nates the fragility of the lms and improves their ed with EDC were dried at room temperature for 24
elongation. However, some of the ways that plasticized 48 h at 3545% relative humidity (RH). The lms modied
lms can undergo deterioration include increase in solubil- with TGase were dried in two stages: 12 h at 6570% RH,
ity of lms and water vapour permeability or decrease in followed by 2448 h at 3545% RH. The thickness of the
tensile strength. Because the gelatinchitosan lms, like lms was measured at ve random locations with a hand-
other natural polymer lms, had to be plasticized, the eect held micrometer. The average thickness of the lms ranged
of glycerol on mechanical properties as well as on the water from 0.10 to 0.12 mm.
I. Koodziejska, B. Piotrowska / Food Chemistry 103 (2007) 295300 297

2.4. Solubility Table 1

Eects of glycerol on the solubility of sh gelatinchitosan lms modied
with TGase at a concentration of 0.2 mg/ml and EDC at a concentration
About 50 mg of the dry samples were immersed in 20 ml of 30 mM
of 0.2 M McIlvaine buer (pH 3 or 6) and incubated for
Glycerol concentration Solubility (%)A
24 h at 25 C or 15 min or 60 min at 100 C. The insoluble (% of the substrate mass)
material was separated on a funnel with cotton wool. Films modied Films modied
with TGase with EDC
Nitrogen contents were determined in the insoluble resi-
dues of the lms. pH 3 pH 6 pH 3 pH 6
The solubility of the lms was evaluated on the base of (a) 25 C, 24 h
nitrogen that was dissolved in the buer and was expressed 0B 96a 65a 96a 65a
0 33b 26bc 15b 22b
as the percentage of nitrogen contained in the initial lms. 20 35b 25b 15b 23b
The nitrogen content was determined according to 25 35b 28c 17b 21b
AOAC methods (1990). 30 33b 26bc 14b 21b
(b) 100 C, 1 h
2.5. Water vapour permeability 0B 97a 98a 97a 98a
0 94a 35b 38a 40b
WVP was determined according to the ASTM method E 20 91b 37bd 37a 41b
25 90b 41c 36a 39b
9695 (ASTM, 1995). The lms were conditioned for 24 h
30 90b 39cd 38a 41b
at 25 C and 50% RH before determination. Film samples
were mounted on cups lled with water. The cups were (c) 100 C, 15 min
0B 96a 92a 96a 92a
placed, at 25 C and 50% RH in a desiccator. The weight
0 38b 30b 16a 26b
of the cups was measured at 1 h intervals during 9 h. Sim- 20 38b 30b 24b 31cd
ple linear regression was used to estimate the slope of 25 36b 27c 22b 33c
weight loss vs. time plot. 30 38b 30b 23b 30d
WVP was calculated from: A
Values for a particular column followed by dierent letters dier sig-
nicantly (P < 0.05).
Unmodied lms (Koodziejska et al., 2006).
where water vapour transmission rate (WVTR) is the
slope/lm area (g/m2 h), L is the lm thickness (mm),
and Dp is the partial water vapour pressure dierence limited solubility of lms at 100 C and pH 6, from 92
(kPa) between the two sides of the lm. 98% (for not cross-linked samples) to 3035% (Table 1a
and b). The lms cross-linked with TGase were solubilized
2.6. Mechanical properties completely during heating for 1 h at 100 C and pH 3.
However, solubility of lms after 15 min of heating at
Tensile strength (TS) and elongation at break (E) were 100 C amounted only to 38% (Table 1c). This could indi-
determined according to ASTM method D 882-00 (ASTM, cate that crosslinking of components was not enough to
2001) with a model 5543 Instron Universal Testing limit solubility of lms during prolonged heating at pH 3.
Machine (Instron Co., Canton, MA, USA). Initial grip The EDC modied lms were less soluble in buers, espe-
separation and cross-head speed were set at 50 mm and cially at pH 3 and 100 C than were lms modied with
25 mm/min, respectively. TS was calculated by dividing TGase (Table 1). The results suggest that chemical cross-
the maximum load by the initial cross-sectional area of linking of components was more eective than enzymatic
the sample and expressed in MPa. E was calculated as a modications.
ratio of the elongation at the point of sample rupture to It was shown that the addition of glycerol, in concentra-
the initial length of a sample as a percentage. Strips of lm tions up to 30%, did not increase the solubility of lms
samples (2.5 by 10 cm) were conditioned for 24 h at 25 C modied with TGase in buers of pH 3 and 6 at 25 C
and 50% RH before determination of TS and E. and during heating at 100 C for 15 and 60 min (Table
1). Although there were sometimes statistically signicant
3. Results and discussion dierences in the solubility, a regular character of such
changes was not shown. As the value of solubility of mod-
3.1. Eect of glycerol on the solubility of gelatinchitosan ied lms is a reection of components cross-linking, such
lms modied enzymatically and chemically results show that the presence of glycerol does not interfere
with the enzymatic reaction.
The solubilities of unmodied sh gelatinchitosan lms In the case of chemical modication, there was only a
at 25 C in buers of pH 6 and 3, were 65% and 96%, signicant increase in the solubility of lms containing
respectively (Table 1a). After modication with TGase, 20% of glycerol heated for 15 min at 100 C (Table 1c).
the solubility of the lms decreased to 26% at pH 6 and However, the higher concentration of the plasticizer did
33% at pH 3 (Table 1a). Moreover, enzymatic treatment not cause further changes in the solubility of the lms.
298 I. Koodziejska, B. Piotrowska / Food Chemistry 103 (2007) 295300

Cuq et al. (1997) showed that solubility in water of the intermolecular forces that make the polymer network less
lms prepared from sh muscle proteins plasticized with dense and then more permeable (Banker, Gore, & Swa-
glycerol, sorbitol or saccharose was higher than that of brick, 1966; Cuq et al., 1997).
lms without plasticizers. However, according to these Arvanitoyannis et al. (1998b) showed that WVP of
authors, the loss of lm mass was caused by solubilization chitosanpigskin gelatin lms (1:1) in the presence of glyc-
of glycerol, not by proteins. Sothornvit and Krochta (2000) erol at 19% of the substrate mass was much higher than
also reported that glycerol did not aect the solubility of that of unplasticized lms. However, glycerol at concentra-
whey protein lms. The authors also reported that greater tions up to 20% of the substrate mass did not aect the
eects on the solubility were exerted by pH and tempera- WVP of sh gelatinchitosan lms modied with TGase
ture rather than by the plasticizer. On the other hand, (Table 3). The WVP was 35% higher only when the concen-
Mahmoud and Savello (1993) observed the increase in tration of glycerol amounted to 30%. In the case of lms
the solubility of protein lms. This can be explained as a modied with EDC, WVP was not aected by glycerol in
result of decrease of protein interactions in the polymer the whole tested range of concentration (Table 3). These
network. results may suggest that chemical cross-linking makes the
polymer network denser than that of the lms modied
with TGase because, apart from the amide bonds, other
3.2. The WVP of gelatinchitosan lms modied linkages may also be formed.
enzymatically and chemically
3.3. The mechanical properties of gelatinchitosan lms
As could be suspected, unmodied sh gelatinchitosan modied enzymatically and chemically
lms were not good barriers for water (Table 2). The WVP
coecient, 2.42 g mm/kPa h m2, was also higher than The mechanical properties of sh gelatinchitosan lms
that reported by Arvanitoyannis, Nakayama, and Aiba (4:1) are presented in Table 4. The TS of unmodied lms
(1998b) for mammal gelatinchitosan lms. The discrep- was about 46 MPa. Pigskin gelatinchitosan lms (1:1)
ancy in these data may be caused by dierent properties showed TS values three times higher (Arvanitoyannis
of sh and mammal gelatins, dierences in molecular mass et al., 1998b). This dierence may result from dierent
and deacetylation degree of chitosans, as well as, by dier- properties of the substrates and procedures for preparing
ent conditions used during preparation of the lms.
The water barrier properties of sh gelatinchitosan
lms were not improved by cross-linking of the compo-
Table 3
nents with TGase and EDC (Table 2). Yildirim and Hetti- Eects of glycerol on the WVP of sh gelatinchitosan lms
arachchy (1998) showed that modication, with TGase, of
Glycerol WVPA (g mm/kPa h m2)
whey protein isolate, soybean globulin 11S, or mixtures of concentration (% of
these components, even increased the WVP of lms by 55 Films modied with Films modied
the substrate mass)
TGase in concentration with EDC in
64%. On the other hand, de Carvalho and Grosso (2004)
of 0.2 mg/ml concentration of 30 mM
found that the WVP coecient of TGase crosslinked gela-
0 2.40a 2.53a
tin lms was about 40% lower than that of unmodied
20 2.45a 2.50a
lms. 25 2.45a 2.45a
As a rule, incorporation of hydrophilic plasticizers into 30 3.26b 2.56a
protein and polysaccharide lms increases the WVP. This A
Values for a particular column followed by dierent letters dier sig-
eect of plasticizers results from the increase in the free vol- nicantly (P < 0.05).
ume between polymer chains due to decreasing attractive

Table 4
Eects of glycerol on tensile strength and elongation of sh gelatin
Table 2
chitosan lms
The WVP of sh gelatin, chitosan and sh gelatinchitosan lms
Glycerol Films modied with Films modied with
Components of lms WVPA (g mm/kPa h m2)
concentration (% of TGaseA (0.2 mg/ml) EDCA (30 mM)
Chitosan 2.31 the substrate mass) TS (MPa) E (%) TS (MPa) E (%)
Fish gelatine 2.54a
Fish gelatinchitosan 2.42a 0B 46.3a 1.9a 46.3a 1.9a
Fish gelatinchitosan modied 2.53a 0 35.3b 2.4a 28.8b 8.8b
with EDC (30 mM) 15 15.1c 3.5a 5.7c 112.4c
Fish gelatinchitosan modied 2.40a 20 13.4c 20.0b 4.3c 115.9c
with TGase (0.2 mg/ml) 25 4.1d 167.6c 3.7c 117.9c
LDPEB 0.003 30 1.8d 420.1d 2.9c 14.2c
The values followed by the same letter do not dier signicantly Values for a particular column followed by dierent letters dier sig-
(P > 0.05). nicantly (P < 0.05).
Krochta and De Mulder-Johnston (1997). Unmodied lms.
I. Koodziejska, B. Piotrowska / Food Chemistry 103 (2007) 295300 299

lms, including thickness of lms. It was reported that the gations, 167% and 420%, respectively (Table 4). However,
mechanical properties of chitosan or composite lms con- this was accompanied by a drastic decrease of the TS
taining chitosan depend on the molecular mass of the poly- (Table 4). Fish gelatinchitosan lms modied with EDC
mer, the pH of the lm-forming solution (Chen & Hwa, reached elongations of about 110% in the presence of glyc-
1996) and on the deacetylation degree of the chitosan erol at concentration of 15%, but the TS was ve times
(Trung, Thein-Han, Qui, Ng, & Stevens, 2006). These lower than that of the unplasticized lms. Glycerol, at this
properties are also aected by the kind of acid used to dis- concentration, did not increase the elongation of lms
solve chitosan (Begin & Van Calsteren, 1999), drying con- modied with TGase (Table 4). The elongation of chemi-
ditions of lms (Srinivasa, Ramesh, Kumar, & cally modied lms was not aected by further increasing
Tharanathan, 2004) and contents of water (Lazaridou & of glycerol concentration (Table 4).
Biliaderis, 2002). In the case of composite lms, the ratio
of the components may be important in creating the prop- 4. Conclusions
erties of such lms. The concentration of sh gelatin in the
studied composite lms was four times higher than that of The modications of sh gelatin and chitosan with
chitosan. TGase allow reduction of the enhanced solubility of pre-
The TS of sh gelatinchitosan lms decreased after pared lms, even in such drastic conditions as acidic pH
modication of the components with TGase and EDC, and high temperature. These properties widen the practical
respectively, by about 25% and 40% (Table 4). Cross-link- applications of modied lms as packaging material. How-
ing of components usually increases the TS of the lms. ever, cross-linking of components with commercial prepa-
TGase-modied lms of whey protein isolate, soybean 11 rations of TGase, dierently from modication with
S globulin, lms prepared from mixture of these compo- EDC, increases the fragility of lms. Therefore, especially,
nents or pectinsoyour lms were stronger than the such lms have to be plasticized. Fortunately, the plastici-
unmodied lms (Mariniello et al., 2003; Yildirim & Hetti- zation of enzymatically-modied lms does not increase
arachchy, 1998). On the other hand, de Carvalho and the solubility of the polymers in aqueous medium, or at ele-
Grosso (2004) showed that enzymatic modication of gel- vated temperature in acidic medium. Similarly, WVP of the
atin with TGase had no eect on the TS of lms. It appears crosslinked lms is not aected by glycerol in relatively
that these variations in the TS values may be the result of high concentration. On the other hand, glycerol at concen-
dierent degrees of cross-linking of the polymers. Excessive trations above 20% in modied lms, drastically decreases
cross-linking of sh gelatin worsened the properties of the their TS. Nevertheless, TS and elongation of lms modied
gels (Koodziejska et al., 2004). This eect could occur in with TGase and plasticized by glycerol at a concentration
the case of sh gelatinchitosan lms modied with TGase of 20% of the substrate mass led to moderate mechanical
and EDC. Nevertheless, the TS was still in the moderate properties of such materials. However, it is still necessary
range of 10100 MPa and was higher than that of LDPE to select a plasticizer or mixtures of these substances, which
lms (Krochta & De Mulder-Johnston, 1997). allow better elongation of lms, especially at low relative
Enzymatic modication did not change the elongation humidity, but without drastic decrease of TS.
of lms, but crosslinking of the components with EDC
increased this property from about 2% to 9% (Table 4). Acknowledgements
Glycerol, at a concentration of 15%, did not improve the
exibility of lms modied enzymatically. Elongation of This research project was nanced by the national re-
lms containing glycerol in higher concentration, 20% of search budget in the years 20032005. The chitosan was
the substrate mass, was about 8 times greater than that kindly supplied by Dr. Anna Wojtasz-Pajak from The
of unplasticized samples; however, the TS was 2.5 times Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia, Poland.
lower (Table 4). According to the values given by Krochta
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