Antimicrobial packaging


Antimicrobial packaging is an active packaging that is a combination of food-packaging materials with antimicrobial substances. This system allows controlling the microbial surfaces contamination of foods. Therefore, it enhance shelf-live of product.

Diverse antimicrobial substances are available. Some of them are migratory substances, and they are released slowly from the packaged materials to the food surface. Others are not migratory substances, so in this situation, a contact between food and antimicrobial substance is necessary. To confer an antimicrobial activity, antimicrobial agents may be coated, incorporated, immobilised or surface modified onto package materials.

Diversity of antimicrobial agents:
  • Organic acids: benzoic, sorbic, paraben…
  • Enzymes: lysozyme, glucose oxydase…
  • Bacteriocines: nisin, lacticin
  • Fungicides: SO2, benomyl, imazalil…
  • Natural extracts: essential oils, aroma compounds…
  • Ethanol
  • Silver ions, antibiotics …


These constituents are active on diverse pathogens:
  • bacteria
  • yeast
  • fungi and spores fungi
  • mycelium
  • mold


Antimicrobial packaging is used to protect various foods:
  • fish
  • meat
  • cheese
  • fresh dairy products
  • bakery products
  • beverage


Microbial growth is reduced. The formations of undesirable compounds, physical and chemical damage are better controlled.

Diverse test methods assess effectiveness of antimicrobial packaging. There are quantitative and qualitative.

SN 195920ISO 22196
JIS L 1902ASTM E 2180
ISO 20645ISO 16869
AATCC 147ISO 20743
AATCC 100Minimum inhibitory
concentration test (MIC)
ASTM E 2149Kirby-Bauer
JIS Z 2801