Materials and technologies – August 2022

09 September 2022

Improving the shelf-life of food
The new project GO Orleans (in Spanish) led by AIMPLAS, aims to turn whey - a by-product of cheese manufacturing - into coatings that extend cheese shelf life by 25%-50%.
Inspired by battlefield medicine, Harvard scientists have developed a biodegradable, antimicrobial food coating that reduces food waste and foodborne illness. The researchers demonstrated the technique by wrapping an avocado with pullulan fibres.
Researchers at Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy studied the role of laser micro-perforations on the ethylene transmission rate in packaging materials used for fresh produce. The study (1.43 MB) is published in Packaging Technology and Science.
UFRN researchers studied nanotechnological innovations to improve antimicrobial properties in active food packaging systems. The study (413 kB) is published in Industrial Biotechnology.

Developing plastics
EPFL scientists have developed a PET-like plastic that is easily made from the non-edible parts of plants. The new plastic can be chemically recycled and degrade back to harmless sugars in the environment.
A consortium aims to upscale seaweed production and application within the EU project SeaMark (Seaweed-Based Market Applications). One of the products to be developed is a bio-packaging material. The project is led by Ocean Rainforest and WUR is one of the partners.
VTT has developed a new transparent film made from regenerated or recrystallised cellulose. The film can be placed in the cardboard recycling fraction.
University of Coimbra researchers have developed a biodegradable plastic substitute from nanocellulose combined with a fibrous mineral. One of the uses is food packaging.
NED University researchers have developed films from PVA and glass flakes. The study (2.06 MB) is published in Membranes.
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have demonstrated how the carbon atoms in mixed waste could replace all fossil raw materials in the production of new plastic. The study (3.39 MB) is published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

Fertilisers contain large quantities of biodegradable plastics
A new study (2.85 MB) in Scientific Reports by the University of Bayreuth shows that fertilisers from composting plants in Germany contain large quantities of biodegradable microplastics. According to the European certification standard EN 13432, plastics are biodegradable if 90% cent of them have decomposed into particles smaller than two millimetres in less than twelve weeks.

CandyCode for confirming the authenticity of pharmaceuticals
Researchers at UC Riverside have developed a uniquely identifiable coating for confirming the authenticity of pharmaceuticals. The inspiration for their “CandyCode” came from the little chocolate candies with colourful sprinkles. An article (7.73 MB) about the research is published in Scientific Reports.

Preserving cultural heritage
The NEMOSINE Project, coordinated by AIMPLAS, has created smart packaging that extends the life and improves the preservation of cultural heritage made of cellulose, including film and photos. The packaging helps reduce the energy consumption and costs of traditional storage systems (usually based on cold storage below 5ºC). Researchers at the Shaanxi Normal University have developed an archive storage system to enhance the control of mould in paper. The study (5.62 MB) is published in the Journal of Cultural Heritage.

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