Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Food Science

First Advisor

Julie M. Goddard

Second Advisor

Sam R. Nugen

Third Advisor

Kenneth R. Carter

Subject Categories

Food Science


This body of work investigates various techniques for the surface modification of food contact materials for use in food packaging and processing applications. Nanoscale changes to the surface of polymeric food packaging materials enables changes in adhesion, wettability, printability, chemical functionality, and bioactivity, while maintaining desirable bulk properties. Polymer surface modification is used in applications such as antimicrobial or non-fouling materials, biosensors, and active packaging. Non-migratory active packagings, in which bioactive components are tethered to the package, offer the potential to reduce the need for additives in food products while maintaining safety and quality. A challenge in developing non-migratory active packaging materials is the loss of biomolecular activity that can occur when biomolecules are immobilized. Polyethylene glycol (PEG), a biocompatible polymer, is grafted from the surface of ozone treated low-density polyethylene (LDPE) resulting in a surface functionalized polyethylene to which a range of amine-terminated bioactive molecules can be immobilized. The grafting of PEG onto the surface of polymer packaging films is accomplished by free radical graft polymerization, and to covalently link an amine-terminated molecule to the PEG tether, demonstrating that amine-terminated bioactive compounds (such as peptides, enzymes, and some antimicrobials) can be immobilized onto PEG-grafted LDPE in the development of non-migratory active packaging.

Fouling on food contact surfaces during food processing has a significant impact on operating efficiency and can promote biofilm development. Processing raw milk on plate heat exchangers results in significant fouling of proteins as well as minerals, and is exacerbated by the wall heating effect. An electroless nickel coating is co-deposited with polytetrafluoroethylene onto stainless steel to test its ability to resist fouling on a pilot plant scale plate heat exchanger. Further work was performed to test the stability of non-fouling material after extended exposure to an alkali detergent or acid sanitizer formulated for clean-in-place procedures in dairy processing facilities. Additionally, the anti-corrosive property of the surface coating was tested on carbon steel against chlorine ions, a common corrosive agent found in the food industry. Accelerated corrosion and long-term chemical exposure studies were conducted to measure the coating stability against the harsh corrosive agents.


Included in

Food Science Commons