Materials and technologies – June 2020
Packaging of fresh fruits
Mandarins are often sold in bulk and refrigerated in open cardboard boxes. They have a relatively short shelf-life (12–15 days). Researchers at Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena studied the influence of a controlled release of essential oils from an active packaging, comparing different sized cardboard trays and boxes. An article (2.38 MB) is published in Foods.
The Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) has published the results of the project “3 Fresh Fruits Packaging Innovation for E-Commerce”. The first part of the project was the development of packaging for durian fruit that completely controls durian odour and prevents transmission of gas and water droplets effectively. The second part was the development of high mechanical strength packaging with low water absorption which can support 5 kilograms of mango’s per box and stack up to 14 layers. Finally, a smart label was developed to monitor the amount of residual sulphur dioxide (SO2) on the fruit longan.
Coatings to improve the shelf life of food
Cambridge Crops, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology startup, uses a silk coating for a longer shelf life. Once deposited on the surface of food, the silk coating forms a tasteless, odourless, and otherwise imperceptible barrier that slows down the food’s natural degradation mechanisms. Depending on the food item, the result shows up to a 200% increase in shelf life.
REFUCOAT is an EU-funded project that aimed to develop fully-recyclable food packaging with enhanced gas barrier properties and new functionalities using high performance coatings. Active coatings were used in films and trays as an alternative to current metallised and modified atmospheric packaging (MAP). REFUCOAT has now come to an end and in May 2020 the outcomes were presented during a virtual event of which the slides are available.
In a paper (752 kB) published in Coatings, Dunărea de Jos University of Galați researchers present an overview on the availability and application of polysaccharides in coatings for foods packaging paper.
In a review article (2.72 MB) published in RSC Advances, Clarkson University researchers summarise recent studies on the use of nanomaterials in packaging. Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new technique for polymer manufacturing with reduced solvents. The technique provides a way for packaging manufacturers to use nanocellulose – a nanomaterial derived from natural sources such as plant matter.
Reinforcing recycled polymers with nanoadditives helps to maintain their characteristic properties. In a review article (802 kB) published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, University of Santiago de Chile researchers study the use in food packaging.
Active and intelligent packaging
In a paper (3.1 MB) published in Coatings, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine researchers give an overview of active, and intelligent packaging and identify commercially available examples used in food packaging. The paper also highlights the possibility of integrating compounds recovered from the by-products of the food industry.
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.
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