Materials and technologies – March 2021

30 March 2021

Smart packaging
Scientists at UCL have created a temporary tattoo with organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), paving the way for a new type of “smart tattoo” with a range of potential uses. OLEDs could be tattooed on packaging or fruit to signal when a product has passed its expiry date or will soon become inedible. In a review article (4.98 MB) published in Sensors, McMaster University researchers examine the role of smart packaging in fruit packaging, current-state-of-the-art, challenges, and prospects. In an article (4.19 MB) published in Trends in Food Science & Technology, Hochschule Biberach researchers give a review of the current state of research regarding active packaging and the incorporation of seaweed into food packaging.
In a review article (2.31 MB) published in Molecules, researchers at the “P. Poni” Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry examine important types of active packaging. The emphasis is on controlled/target release antimicrobial and/or antioxidant packaging.

Food packaging
In a recent notice the US FDA and the USDA state that food and food packaging are unlikely to spread COVID-19. In an article (1.09 MB) published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, USDA-ARS researchers study alternatives for PFAS in paper food packaging.
Polymateria, a start-up based at the White City Campus of Imperial College London, has created plastic cling film that breaks down within a year and can also be recycled.
Khalifa University reports that a team of researchers has developed a way to print edible holograms onto food using lasers and corn syrup, enabling information about nutritional content or labels to be printed directly onto the food item. Their work was published (10.6 MB) in ACS Nano. In a review article (3.56 MB) published in Food Structure 28, researchers at Università di Udine discuss recent developments of aerogels in food applications. One of the subjects included is the application of aerogels in food packaging.

In a review article (528 kB) published in Polymers, researchers at Universidade NOVA de Lisboa analyse recent studies that combine the action of different nanoparticle types with chitosan films to reinforce their mechanical and barrier properties. In another review article (383 kB) published in Gold Bulletin, Islamic Azad University researchers give an overview of potential applications of gold nanoparticles in food packaging.
AIMPLAS reports on the new BIOMAC project: Biobased Nanomaterials and Polymer Nanocomposites for the European Circular Bioeconomy. One of the five test cases is food packaging.

Heat sealing
In an article (2.62 MB) published in Packaging Technology and Science, researchers at the University of Twente look at heat sealing and its mechanisms in flexible food packaging materials. They particularly focus on the reasons behind encountered seal integrity problems that have a detrimental effect on food quality and shelf life.

Prices for plastics - EU market for polymers under pressure
EuPC reports that the European market for polymers has been under pressure for several months and that the negative consequences of raw material shortages and price increases are seriously impacting the production of plastic products in the EU.
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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