Materials and technologies - February 2019

06 March 2019

Anti-counterfeiting: invisible tags and chemical footprints
Researchers at TU Dresden have developed a new method of storing information in fully transparent plastic films. On these invisible tags the information can be written, read and erased using light. Information such as barcodes or serial numbers can be hidden for on-demand readout only. Also, these tags could propel anti-counterfeiting to a whole new level. An article (714 kB) about the research is published in Science Advances. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have invented a chemical fingerprint that, when used with a phone app, reveals whether a product is genuine or a fake.

Alternative ways to make plastic
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered a new process to make polymers out of sulfur. Sulfur is an abundant chemical element. It is also a waste product from the refining of crude oil and gas in the petrochemicals industry. An article (1.64 MB) about the research is published in Nature Communications.
Researchers at Lund University have developed a plastic based on indole, a heavier hydrocarbon molecule than furan (used in PEF), that is present in human faeces.
To polymerise furans, you need toxic catalysts and high temperatures. Now, chemists at the University of Groningen (click on English flag) have described an enzyme-based polymerization method. Their results (2.34 MB) are published in ChemSusChem.
According to a ScienceDaily article, scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a novel catalyst for the oxidation of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural.

Biodegradable and/or recyclable coatings
Researchers at Nanjing Forestry University have developed a starch-based flexible coating for food packaging papers with excellent hydrophobicity and antimicrobial properties. An article (3.52 MB) about the research is published in Polymers.
Technische Universität Darmstadt and the Koehler Paper Group have joined forces in the Green Coating Collaboration, a research partnership aimed at developing functional surfaces that are recyclable and/or biodegradable, which will allow the paper coated with these materials to be fed into the paper recycling process.

Nanotechnology and packaging
A recently published IFST Information Statement defines, and briefly explains, nanoscience and nanotechnology, assessing the potential applications and public concerns, their use in food, and outlining the safety, risk and food regulations in this area. In a review article, researchers at Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences discuss the prospective role of nanobiotechnology in food and food packaging products. The article (310 kB) was published in Integrative Food, Nutrition and Metabolism.
The incorporation of nanoclays can improve the thermal, mechanical, and barrier properties of a host polymer. Researchers at Yonsei University have published a review article (10.29 MB) on nanoclays in food and beverage packaging in the Journal of Nanomaterials.

Online book about active antimicrobial food packaging
A book was published by IntechOpen aimed at introducing the reader to active antimicrobial food packaging, as well as concerns of the consumers on synthetic-based food additives. You can read the book online.

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