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IJSRD - International Journal for Scientific Research & Development| Vol. 8, Issue 9, 2020 | ISSN (online): 2321-0613
Development of Biodegradable Food Packaging Materials Based On
Vegetable Leaves in Benin: Case of the Musa Sapientum Species (Review)
Guy Clarence SEMASSOU1 Abdou Raïmi Olayimika Ichola ALAKOUKO2 Kouamy Victorin
Laboratoire d’Énergétique et de Mécanique Appliquées (LEMA), École Polytechnique d'AbomeyCalavi, 01 BP 2009 Cotonou, Bénin
Thermics and Energy Laboratory of Nantes, (LTEN) - CNRS, UMR 6607, BP 50609, 44306 Nantes,
Abstract— The development of biodegradable packaging is
one of the environmental protection thematic. This paper
presents a review of the various works relating to the
development of food packaging based on the leaves of the
Musa sapientum species. This review shows that Musa
sapientum leaves are available, generate socio-economic
benefits and have the chemical, physical, mechanical,
antimicrobial and toxicity characteristics necessary for the
development of biodegradable food packaging. There are
also methods and standards for the manufacturing and
mechanical characterisation of packaging materials based on
vegetable leaves.
Keywords: Musa Sapientum, Food Packaging, Material,
Vegetable Leaf, Mechanical Characterisation
Deformations tensor
Stress tensor
Rigidity tensor
Lamé coefficients
Coulomb’s module
Young’s module
Poisson coefficient
µ, λ
SI unit
MPa (N/mm2)
MPa (N/mm2)
MPa (N/mm2)
MPa (N/mm2)
MPa (N/mm2)
The urbanization of the population and the development of
agro-food chains around the world have led to a rapid
increase in the demand for plastic food packaging,
particularly in developing countries. Benin, a major
consumer, is permanently supplied with plastic packaging
from Asian countries and the sub-region where supply is
abundant and cheaper (Hounhouigan, 2000).
However, the use of plastic packaging has many
drawbacks. Indeed, once used, because of their nonbiodegradable nature, they become very bulky in nature,
posing serious problems of environmental pollution and land
degradation. In addition, the practice of packaging hot,
ready-to-eat food in plastic packaging is common, creating
risks of contamination with effects that are detrimental to
the health of consumers in the short or long term. These are
some of the reasons that led Benin, following the example of
some countries in the sub-region, to vote the law against the
use of packaging in non-biodegradable plastic bags (Law
n°2017-39 on the prohibition of the production, importation,
marketing and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags in the
Republic of Benin).
Moreover, in Benin, several types of vegetable
packaging are usually used in the food industry: palm
branches, raffia branches, vegetable leaves, etc. The
unbridled development of the agro-food craft industry in
Benin makes it necessary to recycle these traditional
packaging materials. A multitude of vegetable leaves used
as food packaging have been identified in the north, center
and south of Benin (Onzo, et al., 2016).
The use of vegetable leaves as food packaging has
many advantages, from an economic, cultural and
environmental point of view (Gbesso, et al., 2015). It is an
alternative to non-degradable synthetic packaging that poses
a danger to public health and the environment. It will then
make sense to produce modern, biodegradable food
packaging based on these plant species.
This paper reviews the various works towards the
development of packaging materials based on vegetable
leaves in Benin. After showing the diversity and the socioeconomic issues related to the use of vegetable leaves as
food packaging in Benin, the various studies on the
packaging material component of the Musa sapientum
species are discussed, and the methods for developing and
characterisation of bio-based packaging materials are
The methodology used to conduct this review consists of
consulting national and international articles, thesis and
reports on the themes of Musa sapientum, leaves packaging
in Benin and the development of packaging materials. The
review on vegetable leaf food packaging in Benin assesses
the availability, diversity and socio-economic aspects related
to the use of vegetable leaves as food packaging in Benin.
Then the review of the physical, chemical and mechanical
characteristics as well as the toxicity and antimicrobial
activity of Musa sapientum leaves allows to assess the
potential of Musa sapientum leaves for the manufacture of
agro-materials for food packaging. Finally, a review of the
different methods for the development and characterisation
of bio-based packaging materials makes it possible to
determine the standards and methods for the manufacturing
and characterisation of packaging based on vegetable leaves.
A. Vegetable Leaves and Food Packaging in Benin
1) Biodiversity of Packaging Plant Leaves
The biodiversity of plant leaves used as food packaging in
Benin has been the subject of several scientific studies. A
survey on vegetable leaf packaging carried out by
systematic raking of 150 women food producers and sellers
in South Benin revealed that Thalia geniculata, Tectona
grandis, Manihot esculenta, Musa sapientum, Lasimorpha
senegalensis, Icacina trichantha, Elaeis guineensis and
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Development of Biodegradable Food Packaging Materials Based On Vegetable Leaves in Benin: Case of the Musa Sapientum Species (Review)
(IJSRD/Vol. 8/Issue 9/2020/047)
Sterculia tragacantha were the main plant species identified
and used by about 98% of the women producers surveyed.
From the same study, it can be concluded that due to their
biodegradability, diversity and a range of intrinsic properties
and characteristics, plant leaves used as packaging play a
key role in the agro-food craft industry in South Benin. In
addition to the protective function they provide, some leaf
species are also consumed as leafy vegetables or used for
their medicinal properties, while others transfer their aroma
or colour to packaged foods (Onzo, et al., 2013).
On the other hand, a study carried out in eight
municipalities (in the North and South) of Benin reveals that
65 plants species belonging to 32 families are used by the
populations as food packaging. Of these species, about 20%
are cultivated and 80% are in the wild. These include Thalia
geniculata, Siphonochilus aethiopicus, Sarcocephalus
latifolius, Cyrtosperma senegalense, Daniellia oliveri,
Agyrea nervosa, Ampelocissus leonensis, Isoberlinia doka,
Sterculia tragacantha, Icacina trichantha and musa
sapiemtum (Onzo, et al., 2016). Figure 1 shows a picture of
some species used as food packaging in Benin.
Fig. 1: Some species used as food packaging in Benin (Onzo, et al., 2016)
Legend: a=Argyrea nervosa; b=Ampelocissus leonensis ;
c=Cyrtosperma senegalense ; d=Daniellia oliveri ;
e=Icacina trichantha ; f=Isoberlina doka ; g=Sarcocephalus
latifolius ; h=Siphonochilus aethiopicus ; i=Sterculia
tragacantha ; j=Thalia geniculata.
2) Availability of Musa Sapientum Leaves
As for the production of Musa sapientum leaves, it is
assimilated to that of the banana. In 2018, Benin’s banana
production is estimated at 22,167 tons. (Organisation des
Nations Unies pour l’Alimentation et l’Agriculture, 2020).
These data show that Musa sapientum leaves are available in
sufficient quantities for packaging materials. Figure 2 shows
the evolution of the quantity of bananas (and therefore
leaves) produced per year in Benin from 2000 to 2018. It
can be seen that since the year 2000, the quantity of bananas
produced has been increasing, and this justifies the presence
Fig. 2: Quantity of bananas produced per year in Benin
of a resource to be valorised; banana leaves.
(Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’Alimentation et
l’Agriculture, 2020)
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Development of Biodegradable Food Packaging Materials Based On Vegetable Leaves in Benin: Case of the Musa Sapientum Species (Review)
(IJSRD/Vol. 8/Issue 9/2020/047)
3) Socio-Economic Aspect
The use of leaves as food packaging represents a potential
for the development of artisanal food processing. According
to studies carried out on ten species, including Musa
sapientum, in southern and central Benin, vegetable leaf
packaging is a flourishing trade that brings substantial
income (5,000 to 8,000 CFA francs per day) in the local
context to women vendors (Gbesso, et al., 2015).
B. Musa Sapientum Leaves as Packaging Material
1) Presentation of the Species Musa Sapientum
Banana trees, Musa, are a genus of perennial
monocotyledonous plants of the Musaceae family whose
fruits, in general, are bananas. In botany, musa is a genus of
species divided into five sections Eumusa, Rhodochlamys,
Callimusa, Australimusa and Ingentimusa. The banana tree,
contrary to appearances, is not a tree, but a herbaceous plant.
(Lassoudière, 2010). Musa sapientum is a tree-like perennial
herb that grows at a height of 5 to 9 meters, with a tuberous,
hard, long-stemmed rhizome. The inflorescence is large with
a reddish-brown bract and is eaten as a vegetable. The ripe
fruit is sweet, juicy and full of seeds and the skin is thicker
than that of other bananas. (Imam, et al., 2011). The fruits
and leaves of Musa sapientum are shown in Figure 3.
Fig. 3: Musa sapientum: (a) Leaves and fruits of Musa
sapientum (Imam & Akter, 2011) (b) Fresh Musa sapientum
leaves (Alakouko, 2020)
Because of its characteristics, Musa sapientum
leaves are used in various fields such as medicine, food,
packaging and pharmacology (Imam, et al., 2011).The
characteristics that make Musa sapientum leaves a material
for food packaging will be detailed in the following
2) Physical and Chemical Characteristics
Several scientific works have been carried out on the
physical, chemical and physicochemical characteristics of
Musa sapientum leaves. The most recent studies have
focused on the material or biopolymer component of these
leaves and have led to the conclusion that they can be used
in the production of packaging. Studies have shown that
banana leaves contain 28.80% raw fibers (Bouafou, et al.,
2012). These fibers can be used as reinforcement in the
production of packaging paper. For example, fibers from
Musa sapientum leaves together with other chemical
elements have been used in the production of papers (Amit,
et al., 2017).
The chemical composition and some physical
characteristics of Musa sapientum leaves are presented in
tables 1 and 2. According to these results, Musa sapientum
leaves contain important elements for the preparation of
cellulose and the production of paper (Akpabio, et al.,
2012). The same conclusions were drawn in the work of
Atul Kumar and his peers. According to this work, Musa
sapientum leaves contain 82-85% cellulose, which may
allow the preparation of biopolymers for the production of
packaging materials (Atul, et al., 2013).
Physical parameters
Moisture content (oven-dried) (%)
Moisture content (air-dried) (%)
Soluble in cold water (%)
Soluble in hot water (%)
Cold soluble 1% NaOH (%)
Hot soluble 1% NaOH (%)
Cold soluble 18% NaOH (%)
Hot soluble 18% NaOH (%)
Soluble in a 1:2 ethanol-benzene solution (%) 44.30
Basic density (g/cm3)
Table 1: Some physical characteristics of Musa sapientum
leaves (Akpabio, et al., 2012)
Elements (mg/100g) Proportions
Table 2: Chemical composition of Musa sapientum leaves
(Akpabio, Udiong, & Akpakpan, 2012)
3) Mechanical Characteristics
As with all types of composite materials, the characteristics
of packaging materials based on Musa sapientum leaves
depend on the properties of the constituents. Knowledge of
the characteristics of Musa sapientum leaves is important in
packaging production. According to work by Onzo et al.,
Musa sapientum leaves have a tensile stress at break of
2.025 MPa in longitudinal tension and 0.908 MPa in
transverse tension. They have mechanical characteristics
that can be used in the manufacture of biodegradable
packaging (Onzo, et al., 2014b).
4) Antimicrobial Activity and Toxicity
Studies by Caroline Onzo and her pairs in 2014 on the
characterisation of plant species used as food packaging in
West Africa show that the leaves of the species Musa
sapientum are not toxic (Onzo, et al., 2014a). In addition,
the evaluation of the antimicrobial activity of this species
reveals that they can be used as biological antimicrobial
agents for the preservation of packaged food (Onzo, et al.,
2015). Musa sapientum leaves are therefore non-toxic and
can act as an antimicrobial agent in food preservation.
C. Processing of Packaging Materials Based on Vegetable
1) Packaging Materials
Several materials can be used in the manufacture of food
packaging, such as paper, cardboard, textiles, tinplate,
aluminium alloys, glass, plastics and vegetable materials.
Some packaging such as food cartons are composite (e.g.
plastic/aluminium/cardboard), their recycling requires a
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Development of Biodegradable Food Packaging Materials Based On Vegetable Leaves in Benin: Case of the Musa Sapientum Species (Review)
(IJSRD/Vol. 8/Issue 9/2020/047)
prior separation procedure of these components (Conseil de
la transformation agro-alimentaire et des produits de
consommation, 2010). Each of them has advantages and
limits (table 3). But composites and multilayers are the
packaging materials that could meet all possible
High resistance to
Glass and
vertical crushing
Heavy to transport
and impacts
Very expensive
Fully recyclable
Good thermal
Incompatibility with
microwave heating
Fully recyclable
Not fully recyclable
(7 times)
Less expensive
Sensitive to
humidity and
temperature changes
Not recyclable
Gas and moisture
Non Biodegradable
Risk of food
Less expensive
All the properties
you need
Table 3: Advantages and limits of packaging materials
(Conseil de la transformation agro-alimentaire et des
produits de consommation, 2010)
Furthermore, biopolymers are a good alternative to
replace conventional plastics with materials that can degrade
after use without increasing the atmospheric CO2 content
(Rutot, et al., 2004). In addition to their biodegradability,
biopolymers have other interesting properties for packaging
applications. Apart from their primary function of product
protection, biopolymers offer packaging other functions
thanks to their intrinsic properties. For example, their
permeability to water vapor, which is of interest for
packaging fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables, is a
good example (Petersen, et al., 1999).
Cellulose is a family of biodegradable biopolymers
that is still a renewable resource (Stevens, 2002). It has
specific properties for targeted applications in the food
packaging industry (Holy Nadia, et al., 2006).
Of all these works, the packaging materials of
tomorrow are composite and multilayer materials based on
biopolymers including cellulose. They can be classified as
polymer matrix composite materials (bio or synthetic)
(Berthelot, 2013).
2) Methods of Processing Leaves-Based Packaging
Most polymer matrix composites have so far been
developed on machines dedicated to the elaboration of
plastic materials. Plastics are shaped by a large number of
technologies, each adapted to the material to be processed.
These machines are designed according to the physicochemical properties of the polymer, but also according to the
characteristics required for the finished product. Among the
technologies for shaping plastics, the most suitable for
extrusion/inflation, calendering, thermoforming, injection
moulding, multiphase injection, injection blow moulding,
moulding, rotomoulding, etc (English , et al., 1997),
(Geneau, 2006) (Houdja, 2019), (Soulama, 2014).
3) Mechaical Characterisation of Leaves-Based Packaging
After manufacturing, characterisation is the step that allows
the properties of the materials to be studied in relation to its
use. According to the theory of elasticity, the law of elastic
behaviour of materials is the generalised Hooke's law:
  C .
is the stress tensor. It is a symmetrical tensor of order 2
with 6 independent elements.
is the tensor of the deformations. It is a symmetrical
tensor of order 2 with 6 independent elements.
is the tensor of the rigidities. It is a tensor of order four
(4) comprising eighty-one (81) elements.
After simplifications, the tensor
can be
represented by a symmetrical matrix with thirty-six (36)
elements of which 21 are independent (Sidoroff, 1980). We
then have the following relationship.
  1   C 11 C 12 C 13 C 14 C 15 C 16    1 
  
 
C 22 C 23 C 24 C 25 C 26  2
 2   12
   (2)
  3   C 13 C 23 C 33 C 34 C 35 C 36    3 
 
 
C 24 C 34 C 44 C 45 C 46  4
 4   14
 
  5   C 15 C 25 C 35 C 45 C 55 C 56    5 
  
 
  6   C 16 C 26 C 36 C 46 C 56 C 66    6 
The characteristics of the material are the
coefficients of the matrix C ij .
The behaviour of packaging materials produced
with cellulose or fibers from Musa sapientum leaves is
assimilated to an isotropic material (Berthelot, 2013),
(Sidoroff, 1980) et (Soulama, 2014). For an isotropic
material, the mechanical properties are the same in all
directions, regardless of the change in reference. In the case
of linear elasticity, the characteristics of such a material are
a function of only two independent characteristic
parameters. These are the Lamé coefficients λ and µ such as
equation (3), (Gornet, 2011):
0 0 0  1 
 1    2 
  
 
  2
0 0 0 2
 2 
 
 3  
  2  0 0 0   3 
 
 
 0 0   4 
 4 
 5  
Sym .
 0   5 
  
 
   6 
 6  
In some cases, these two coefficients are expressed in
relation to two others: Young's modulus E and Poisson's
coefficient υ (Chevalier, 1985).
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Development of Biodegradable Food Packaging Materials Based On Vegetable Leaves in Benin: Case of the Musa Sapientum Species (Review)
(IJSRD/Vol. 8/Issue 9/2020/047)
E 
 
 (3   2  )
2(    )
µ is also called Coulomb Modulus of the material, G, and
expressed as a function of E and υ.
G 
and cultural development. In addition to its non-toxicity,
they play a role as an antimicrobial agent in food
preservation. They also have physical, chemical and
mechanical characteristics that can be used in the
development of new food packaging materials. This review
presents the elaboration methods and also the determination
of the mechanical behavior of packaging materials based on
vegetable leaves. Researchers have set up all the data
necessary for the production of food packaging made from
Musa sapientum leaves.
2(1   )
We notice that the two main parameters
characteristic of the elastic behaviour of an isotropic
material are E and υ. In addition to these parameters, the
breaking strengths (by extension and by compression) also
make it possible to know the flow limits of the materials
(Chevalier, 1985). In order to determine these
characteristics, which reflect the mechanical behaviour of a
material, a number of standardised tests are used. These tests
are used to determine values for the mechanical properties
that engineers use for various applications. For example,
bending, tensile, compression and torsion tests (Mbacke,
2013). Several standards describe the realisation of these
tests: EN ISO-178, ASTM D790, D5934 and D5943 for
bending, ISO-527 and ASTM D 638 for tensile. All this
information shows that the mechanical characteristics of
packaging materials based on vegetable leaves can be
determined and exploited.
4) Some materials made from the Musa sapientum species
Scientists have proven that it is possible to make materials
from Musa sapientum leaves fiber’s or cellulose.
Ramdhonee et al. produced papers from banana fibers and
waste paper (Figure 4). These materials have physical and
mechanical characteristics for use as packaging (Amit, et al.,
Fig. 4: Paper based on fibre from Musa sapientum leaves
(Amit, et al., 2017)
Banana tree extracts were used to make fiberboard.
The Young's modulus of these panels varies according to the
different compositions between 3.51 and 3.93 GPa, the
tensile strength at break between 40.65 and 50.91 MPa and
the density between 0.72 and 0.78 g/cm3. With these
characteristics, packaging based on Musa sapientum extracts
can be developed (Rashid, et al., 2014).
Musa sapientum leaves used as food packaging in Benin are
an available resource. Its use is a source of socioeconomic
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