Nanocarriers for Sustainable Active Packaging: An Overview during and Post COVID-19

by Mihaela Stefana Pascuta 1 and Dan Cristian Vodnar 1,2,*

1 Faculty of Food Science and Technology, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Calea Mănăştur 3–5, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2 Institute of Life Science, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Calea Mănăștur 3–5, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Academic Editor: Rafael José Gavara
Coatings 2022, 12(1), 102;


Lockdown has been installed due to the fast spread of COVID-19, and several challenges have occurred. Active packaging was considered a sustainable option for mitigating risks to food systems during COVID-19. Biopolymeric-based active packaging incorporating the release of active compounds with antimicrobial and antioxidant activity represents an innovative solution for increasing shelf life and maintaining food quality during transportation from producers to consumers. However, food packaging requires certain physical, chemical, and mechanical performances, which biopolymers such as proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids have not satisfied. In addition, active compounds have low stability and can easily burst when added directly into biopolymeric materials. Due to these drawbacks, encapsulation into lipid-based, polymeric-based, and nanoclay-based nanocarriers has currently captured increased interest. Nanocarriers can protect and control the release of active compounds and can enhance the performance of biopolymeric matrices. The aim of this manuscript is to provide an overview regarding the benefits of released active compound-loaded nanocarriers in developing sustainable biopolymeric-based active packaging with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Nanocarriers improve physical, chemical, and mechanical properties of the biopolymeric matrix and increase the bioactivity of released active compounds. Furthermore, challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and a brief post-COVID-19 scenario were also mentioned.