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2019 - Comparative analysis of blend and bilayer films based on chitosan and gelatin enriched with LAE (lauroyl arginate ethyl) with antimicrobial activity for food packaging applications [Articolo su rivista]
Haghighi, Hossein; De Leo, Riccardo; Bedin, Elisa; Pfeifer, Frank; Siesler, Heinz Wilhelm; Pulvirenti, Andrea

Blend and bilayer bio-based active films were developed by solvent casting technique, using chitosan (CS) and gelatin (GL) as biopolymers, glycerol as a plasticizer and lauroyl arginate ethyl (LAE) as an antimicrobial compound. Blend films had higher tensile strength and elastic modulus and lower water vapor permeability than bilayer films (p < 0.05). Bilayer films demonstrated as effective barriers against UV light and showed lower transparency values (p < 0.05). FT-IR spectra indicated that interactions existed between CS and GL due to electrostatic interactions and hydrogen bond formation. However, the addition of LAE did not interfere in the network structure. Active films incorporated with LAE (0.1%, v/v) inhibited the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium and Campylobacter jejuni. This study highlighted the development of blend and bilayer bio-based active films based on CS and GL enriched with LAE for food packaging applications with improved physical, mechanical, barrier and antimicrobial properties.o

2019 - Comprehensive characterization of active chitosan-gelatin blend films enriched with different essential oils [Articolo su rivista]
Haghighi, Hossein; Biard, Syméon; Bigi, Francesco; De Leo, Riccardo; Bedin, Elisa; Pfeifer, Frank; Siesler, Heinz Wilhelm; Licciardello, Fabio; Pulvirenti, Andrea

Natural extracts and plant essential oils (EOs) have long been recognized as valid alternatives to synthetic food additives owing to their proved wide-spectrum antimicrobial capacity. The main aim of this study was to characterize the physical, mechanical, water barrier, microstructural and antimicrobial properties of chitosan-gelatin blend films enriched with cinnamon, citronella, pink clove, nutmeg and thyme EOs. The film microstructure determined by scanning electron microscopy, showed that all active films had heterogeneous surface: in particular, films including cinnamon, nutmeg and thyme EOs showed remarkable pores on the surface. The possible interaction of chitosan-gelatin blend film with incorporated EOs was investigated using Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Presence of new bands and changes in the FT-IR spectra confirmed intermolecular interactions between the chitosan-gelatin matrix and the EOs. The antimicrobial activity of films was determined using the disk diffusion assay. Active films inhibited the growth of four major food bacterial pathogens including Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella typhimurium and, among the tested EOs, thyme was the most effective (p < 0.05). The active films can be considered as effective barriers against UV light. The incorporation of EOs to the chitosan-gelatin film increased thickness, moisture content, water vapor permeability, b* and ΔE* values (p < 0.05) while it decreased L* value, light transparency and opacity (p < 0.05). Overall, the characterization of functional properties revealed that chitosan-gelatin films incorporated with EOs could be used as environmentally friendly active food packaging with antimicrobial properties and potential to extend the shelf-life of food products.

2019 - Effects of solid and liquid digestate for hydroponic baby leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) cultivation [Articolo su rivista]
Ronga, Domenico; Setti, Leonardo; Salvarani, Chiara; De Leo, Riccardo; Bedin, Elisa; Pulvirenti, Andrea; Milc, Justyna; Pecchioni, Nicola; Francia, Enrico

Digestate was evaluated as an alternative and sustainable growing medium and nutrient solution in the hydroponic cultivation of baby leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Nine hydroponic combinations of substrate and fertilization (agriperlite + standard solution, agriperlite + liquid digestate, solid digestate + standard solution, solid digestate + liquid digestate, soil + standard solution, peat moss + standard solution; peat moss + liquid digestate, pelleted digestate + standard solution and pelleted digestate + liquid digestate) were tested and compared for the cultivation of baby leaf lettuce, in three different experiments. During the crop cycles, yield as other agronomical and microbiological parameters were investigated. The combination of agriperlite + liquid digestate, solid digestate + standard solution and pelleted digestate + standard solution enhanced plant growth by affecting the root, the shoot, the total dry weight and SPAD parameters, in the all investigated experiments (+32%, +40%, +29%, +17% respectively). Based on the obtained results, digestate represents a sustainable and alternative growing media or nutrient solution for the production of baby leaf lettuce cultivated in hydroponic system.

2018 - Application of pectin-alginate and pectin-alginate-laurolyl arginate ethyl coatings to eliminate Salmonella enteritidis cross contamination in egg shells [Articolo su rivista]
DE LEO, Riccardo; Quartieri, Andrea; Haghighi, Hossein; Gigliano, Silvia; Bedin, Elisa; Pulvirenti, Andrea

This study highlights the potential application of pectin‐alginate blend (PA) and pectin‐alginate‐LAE blend (PAL) coatings to eliminate Salmonella enteriditis 10,118 cross‐contamination without changing the shelf‐life of fresh eggs and their physico‐chemical properties during storage at 7 °C for 42 days. Egg shells were dipped in a solution of Salmonella enteritidis 10,118 with a concentration of 7 x 106 cfu/ml to assess Salmonella cross‐contamination. PA and PAL coatings did not have a significant effect on shelf‐life based on physico‐chemical properties. The egg shells treated with PA and PAL coatings had a significantly lower microbial population compared to the uncoated egg shells. PA and PAL coatings effectively inhibited the growth of Salmonella after 1 and 7 days of storage, respectively. In addition, no outgrowth was observed up to 42 days.

2018 - Vegan foods: Mimic meat products in the Italian market [Articolo su rivista]
Bedin, Elisa; Torricelli, Chiara; Gigliano, Silvia; De Leo, Riccardo; Pulvirenti, Andrea

The current concern about meat consumption tackles many aspects: health, social life, food behaviours, animal welfare, natural resources exploitation. People are more sensitive about these topics and they are shifting individual food habits in favour of a more plant-based diet. Surveys provide a concise view of the increasing percentage of both vegetarians and vegans. The aim of the present research was to develop adequate recipes to prepare food products that mimic the shape and the texture of traditional würstel and Mortadella, focusing on the Italian market. The challenge faced was multiple: firstly, to maintain the similar characteristics of the traditional foods; secondly, to accomplish the consumer's requests; thirdly, to enlarge the market share of the food industries. The results obtained demonstrated that “mimic- würstel” and “mimic-mortadella” were created with vegan allowed ingredients and proteins of vegetal origin. In the case of “mimic-mortadella” the addition of tofu cubes tried to recreate the visual effect of fat globules.