Biodegradable polymer non-woven absorbent pad with absorbency and antimicrobial chemistry

Included are food packaging materials and procedures which are useful for business products to extend the freshness and preserve the integrity and shelf-life of packed foods. Said food packaging materials use a very low bioburden, biodegradable or compostable shock absorbing/cushioning nonwoven structure and a few form or forms of an antimicrobial and/or antifungal agent composed of silver or silver-based species which destroy microbes which would otherwise spoil the food. The shelf-life extension procedure involves silver-based antimicrobial agents which operate to mitigate the spread of food spoilage pathogens when they are in contact with the stated food packaging materials. Fluid consuming or superabsorbent, capabilities may be incorporated in the structure to control excess fluids.

 

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BACKGROUND

 

 
Active food packaging is a critically important region which provides the foundation for maintaining packed food fresh whilst decreasing microbe load, inhibiting microbe expansion and/or keeping the item substantially microbe-free so that thenutritional value of the food could be preserved and lack of spoilage minimized. Consequently, because of improvements in food packaging technologies, more individuals have access to new food. Food producers, packers and sellers may also provide a higherquality merchandise when sustaining less economical loss due to product spoilage.
 

 
Active packaging, i.e., packaging which incorporates methods and/or compositions for the inhibition of bacterial development, covers several areas, but may be broadly defined in the art as using chemical or chemical systems, including the usage ofantimicrobial and/or antifungal agents, which maintain the freshness and extend the shelf life of a food product by interacting with all the food or the atmosphere surrounding the food either continuously or through controlled discharge. 1 prior art method ofcontrolling the bundle atmosphere is using what’s known as in the food packaging industry since Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) in which, generally, the relative concentrations of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen have been adjusted relative to each otherto maintain the freshness and integrity of the specific packaged item. A Fantastic overview of Modified Atmosphere Packaging is provided in the art by Church and Parsons (Church, I. J. & Parsons, A. L.: (1995) Modified Atmosphere Packaging Tech: AReview, Journal Science Food Agriculture, 67, 143-152), in Addition to Beaudry (Beaudry, R., MAP for a Foundation for Active Packaging, at Intelligent and Active Packaging for Fruits and berries, C. L. Wilson, Ed. CRC Press, 2007. pp. 31-55).
 

 
The term”antimicrobial” with respect to food packaging is famous in the art to include any composition or method to reduce or inhibit microbial growth (including fungi and bacteria ) and, consequently, has wide breadth in the art. By way of example,as explained in Lopez-Rubio (Lopez-Rubio, A., et. al., (2004). Overview of Active Polymer-Based Packing Technologies for Food Applications. Food Rev. Int., 20(4): 357-87, p. 366), carbon dioxide frequently exerts a microbiological inhibitory effect inmeats, cheeses and baked goods, but excess carbon dioxide may also adversely affect the taste or texture of the food product as well. However, use of carbon dioxide is regarded by those of skill in the art to be an antimicrobial agent. To the extentthat there are gases like carbon dioxide, and many others as detailed below, that provide an antimicrobial effect, we categorize their use together in food packaging as a type of antimicrobial packaging. Exemplary representation of the present state of thefood packaging art is provided below.
 

 
1. Description of Related Art–Food Packaging Pads
 

 
In food packaging, an absorbent pad can be used for a variety of motives, but is typically utilized to protect food posts from harm and to absorb moisture or biofluids that could otherwise compromise the freshness, integrity and look ofthe packaged food. Ordinarily, a superabsorbent polymer, or SAP, is used in granular or fiber form along with a nonwoven pad comprised of spunbond or meltblown artificial fibers or newspaper pulp fibers, to consume fluid. The pad typically can employ afilm-based upper and bottom layer with perforations that allow the fluid to reach the nonwoven absorbent layer but shield the food merchandise from stray fibers.
 

 

U.S. Pat.

No. 6,270,873, delegated to Sealed Air Corporation, teaches a food pad that comprises a top sheet and a bottom sheet having an absorbent nonwoven layer between. According to the disclosure, the absorbent layer can be located in theconstruction in many different ways. The top layer and base are sealed to limit the absorbent layer and microperforations are employed in the several layers to allow fluid to permeate the sheet layers and also achieve the absorbent. However, suchmultilayer construction could be costly and microperforations may become plugged by particulates. The patent doesn’t have any instruction on biodegradable thermoplastic polymers and nor on the true specific manufacturing procedure with regard to theinvolvement of antimicrobial and antifungal agents.
 

 

U.S. Pat.

No. 7,732,036, delegated to Paper-Pak Industries, describes a shaped absorbent pad system where the pad process is sealed ultrasonically such that it prevents the mat from exploding due to fluid absorption, specifically with all the usageof side panels and hinge joins. Additionally, it provides for multiple layers and also, among other features, allows that no perforations be utilized for fluid to flow to the absorbent pad. Additionally, it offers examples of utilizing active agents to preserve packagedfood freshness. However, this pad design is also relatively costly to fabricate and the pictured active ingredients may not be optimal for longer term food preservation. Further, the pad design isn’t biodegradable and does not offer controlledrelease of an antimicrobial agent. And, finally, the mat does not utilize biodegradable thermoplastic non-woven fibers that are specifically oriented and constructed to permit fluid absorption in way that allows the adequate expansion of thepad.
 

 

U.S. Pat.

No. 5,444,113, delegated to Ecopol, LLC, discloses products made of degradable materials that have a hydrolytically degradable polymer. Poly(lactic) acid is specifically mentioned, which is also called polylactide, which theauthors further cite as a polydioxanedione. The authors list numerous kinds of the biodegradable polymers such as laminates, foams, powders and adhesives, and they list ways to alter the polymers to enhance biodegradability. They specifically statethat the materials in their invention degrade in a period of time of a few weeks to a few decades. But they don’t teach how antimicrobials may be integrated into the degradable polymers of their disclosure nor controlled launch of theantimicrobial agent may be achieved. Further, they don’t disclose how particular meltblown non-woven coating materials with enhanced mechanical and performance properties could be assembled and manufactured.
 

 
2. Description of Related Art–Antimicrobial, Biocidal, Antifungal Food Packaging Aspects
 

 

U.S. Pat.

No. 7,585,530, assigned to Paper-Pak Industries, discloses a multiphase food pad absorbent system which absorbs fluids and inhibits bacterial growth by integrating bacteriostatic and/or bactericidal components and, paradoxically, theability to alter the atmosphere in the bundle, with other choices which include reaction promoters in the food pad to keep the integrity and safety of the packed article. It is also important to be aware that in U.S. Pat. No. 7,585,530, nomention of biodegradability is made. U.S. Pat. No. 7,585,530 focuses on absorbency and using superabsorbent materials especially in related to beef products within the context of using an organic acid bacterial inhibitor. U.S. Pat. No.7,585,530 also discloses atmosphere modification inside the bundle by CO.sub.2/O.sub.2 modification, also illustrates that using enzymes to alter the atmosphere, especially to decrease the oxygen content. Though this prior art asserts antimicrobialmaterials within an absorbent medium, together with methods to alter the air in the bundle, the artwork doesn’t teach methods of controlled release of the antimicrobial agent(s) that will prolong the shelf life of the packed food products.
 

 

U.S. Pat.

No. 7,799,361, delegated to Paper-Pak Industries, similarly to U.S. Pat. No. 7,585,530, demonstrates an absorbent food pad assembled from tissue layers and can be especially associated with swallowing liquid purge stalks from meat andpoultry create and using antibacterial inhibitors to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the liquid purge itself. Also revealed is a carbon dioxide producing system. There’s not any mention of the usage of antimicrobial agents in a controlled release mannerand no discussion of a food pad that is biodegradable and no instruction of all facets of the meals pad non-woven structure including the calendaring of a non-woven biodegradable thermoplastic polymer.
 

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