Materials and technologies – February 2021

01 March 2021

Developing reusable polymers
Princeton University researchers have discovered a new polybutadiene molecule that can be "zipped up" to make a new polymer; that polymer can then be unzipped back to a pristine monomer to be re-used. In the past, depolymerization has been accomplished with expensive niche or specialised polymers and only after a multitude of steps. The University of Groningen reports that scientists have produced different polymers from lipoic acid, a natural molecule. These polymers are easily depolymerised under mild conditions. Some 87% of the monomers can be recovered in their pure form and re-used to make new polymers of virgin quality.

Smart packaging
In an article (12.65 MB) published in Resources, University of Vigo researchers give a review of essential oils and their application in active packaging. In a review article (733 kB) published in BioFlux, researchers at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine discuss smart packaging. In a review article (7.29 MB) published in ACS Food Science & Technology, Kyung Hee University researchers discuss recent advances in intelligent food packaging using natural food colourants.

Food packaging and nanotechnology
Nofima scientist Jawad Sarfraz has been awarded funding for the NanoFunPack project aiming to use nanotechnology to find smart solutions so that plastics used in food packaging can be more easily recycled and to develop even smarter food packaging to increase product shelf life and reduce food waste. He is also the main author of a review article (3.28 MB) published in Nanomaterials on nanocomposites for food packaging. In an article (1.69 MB) published in Carbohydrate Polymer Technologies and Applications, GADVASU researchers give a review of the current scenario for antimicrobial edible films in food packaging and recent nanotechnological advancements.

More food packaging
In a review article (257 kB) published in Microbiology Research, Università degli Studi di Perugia scientists discuss trends in meat packaging. Within the FuturePack project, Nofima studied recyclable plastic packaging solutions for chicken breast fillet. Embrapa reports that the GestFrut project has developed a biodegradable packaging for mangos using cassava starch and coconut fibre. Together with a number of companies, VTT is testing Thermocell plastic film made of cellulose and fatty acids in the production of food packaging. In an article (1.83 MB) published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Nofima scientists discuss the status and future of biobased and biodegradable films for food packaging.

University of Bath scientists have produced a polymer using the second most abundant sugar in nature, xylose. VTT is coordinating the INN-PRESSME project that aims to replace petroleum-based goods with bio-based products. WUR scientists are collaborating to develop new catalysts to transform bio-resources into materials with greater efficiency. For his thesis (2.52 MB) at Tampere University, Manuel Alfonso Albini investigated the anaerobic biodegradation of 7 different commercially available biomaterials.

Prices for plastics
Dutch trade magazine Vraag en Aanbod publishes a weekly overview of the prices for plastics (in Dutch). The prices given are estimated averages between the gross prices published in the trade journals and the net prices.

NVC members receive this information with all the relevant links in the monthly NVC Members-only Update. If you have any questions, please contact us:, +31-(0)182-512411