Edible Films and Coatings for Extending the Shelf Life of Fish and Seafood Products

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By Milthon Lujan

Application methods of edible films on aquaculture products. Source: Gürdal y Çetinkaya (2023), Rev. Aquac.
Application methods of edible films on aquaculture products. Source: Gürdal y Çetinkaya (2023), Rev. Aquac.

Fish and seafood-based food products, renowned for their high nutritional value, play a crucial role in the market. However, the susceptibility of these products to microbiological deterioration, chemical oxidation, and physical decay poses a significant challenge.

To protect these products from external influences, packaging materials containing antimicrobial substances have been developed. A scientific review published by researchers from Yalova University explores the integration of various bioactive compounds into edible films and coatings, using innovative techniques to enhance their properties and discussing their applications in preserving the freshness of aquatic food products.

Incorporation of Bioactive Compounds

The scientific study delves into the utilization of marine-derived biopolymers, peptides, and biodegradable polymers as fundamental materials for edible films and coatings. It emphasizes the synergistic effects of combining these compounds and explores their potential to improve the shelf life of aquatic products.

Types of Edible Films

Polysaccharides and proteins are the primary components of edible films, and their combination with other materials such as nanostructures, essential oils, plant extracts, microorganism-based compounds, and enzymes has been reported in the literature. The study describes protein-based films, polysaccharide-based films, and protein/polysaccharide conjugates.

Application Methods of Edible Films

According to the study, edible films are generally applied to aquatic foods using methods such as immersion, spraying, brushing, or wrapping the film material. The researchers describe that these methods vary depending on the surface and properties of aquaculture products and the properties of the edible film solution used, with immersion and spraying being the most popular methods.

Incorporation of Other Materials in Edible Films

The structure of protein-based films depends on various factors such as the pH of the protein solution, plasticizer, thickness of the prepared film, preparation conditions, and structures included in the film-forming solution. The study describes the use of auxiliary materials such as essential oils, plant extracts, nanostructures, and microorganism-based compounds.

Enriched Films with Plant Extracts and Essential Oils

Polysaccharide and protein films, enriched with plant extracts, phenolic compounds, and essential oils, emerge as promising solutions to prolong shelf life. The study highlights that plant-derived extracts have been widely used as film enhancers to improve antibacterial and antioxidant activities and summarizes recent publications on plant extracts, natural antioxidants, and films with added phenol for aquaculture products.

Essential Oils

Essential oils obtained from plants can be used to preserve aquatic food. Essential oils with phenolic and non-phenolic components have attracted attention due to their antimicrobial and antioxidant properties in aquatic food products.


Recent studies have indicated a growing interest in nanostructures, including nanofibers, nanoparticles, and nanoemulsions. These structures are explored for their ability to nanoencapsulate bioactive ingredients or antimicrobial agents, enhancing the moisture barrier of packaging films and delaying oxidation and microbial deterioration.

Microorganism-Based Additives

The article explores the enrichment of edible films with microorganism-based additives, including probiotics, bacteriophages, and enzymes. This innovative approach presents a potential avenue for extending shelf life through the incorporation of natural antioxidants and antimicrobial agents.

Synergistic Treatment Methods

The review recommends synergistic treatments such as ozonation, high hydrostatic pressure, and irradiation as alternative methods for modifying edible films. The combination of various compounds or treatments aims to provide a holistic approach to preserving the quality and freshness of aquatic food products.


In conclusion, the integration of natural antioxidants, phenolic compounds, probiotics, and bacteriocins into edible films and coatings demonstrates significant potential for prolonging the shelf life of aquatic products. The review underscores the importance of adopting innovative techniques, including nanostructures and synergistic treatments, to address challenges related to microbiological deterioration, chemical oxidation, and physical decay. As the market for aquatic food products continues to grow, the development of advanced edible films and coatings stands as a critical aspect of ensuring product quality and safety.

Turgay Çetinkaya, Department of Food Processing, Armutlu Vocational School, Yalova University, Yalova, Türkiye
Email: turgay.cetinkaya@yalova.edu.tr

Reference (open access)
Gürdal, AA, Çetinkaya, T. Advancements in edible films for aquatic product preservation and packaging. Rev Aquac. 2023; 1-24. doi:10.1111/raq.12880

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