Abstract: The food industry faces numerous challenges to assure provision of tasty and convenient food that possesses extended shelf life and shows long-term high-quality preservation. Research and development of antimicrobial materials for food applications have provided active antibacterial packaging technologies that are able to meet these challenges. Furthermore, consumers expect and demand sustainable packaging materials that would reduce environmental problems associated with plastic waste. In this review, we discuss antimicrobial composite materials for active food packaging applications that combine highly efficient antibacterial nanoparticles (i.e., metal, metal oxide, mesoporous silica and graphene-based nanomaterials) with biodegradable and environmentally friendly green polymers (i.e., gelatin, alginate, cellulose, and chitosan) obtained from plants, bacteria, and animals. In addition, innovative syntheses and processing techniques used to obtain active and safe packaging are showcased. Implementation of such green active packaging can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne pathogen outbreaks, improve food safety and quality, and minimize product losses, while reducing waste and maintaining sustainability.
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