Crop Biotech Update

Smart Packaging from Corn Extends Food Shelf Life

January 12, 2022
Photo Source: NTU

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, US, successfully designed a new packaging material that is biodegradable, sustainable, and kills harmful microbes. Their study is published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces journal.

The packaging material was developed through electrospinning of zein from corn, together with antimicrobial compounds, cellulose, and acetic acid. Thus, the material is considered biodegradable and can potentially help cut down the amount of plastic waste.

"The sustainable and biodegradable active food packaging, which has inbuilt technology to keep bacteria and fungus at bay, is of great importance to the food industry. It could serve as an environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based polymers used in commercial food packaging, such as plastic, which have a significant negative environmental impact," said Prof. Mary Chan, Director of NTU's Centre of Antimicrobial Bioengineering and co-leader of the project.

Strawberries wrapped in the smart packaging remained fresh for a week, which is three days longer than those that were stored in conventional plastic boxes used for strawberries.

Read the news release from NTU.

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