Announcements

Job offersmore »



Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published yesterday.

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




OSU develops water-resistant, antimicrobial edible wrap

Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a water-resistant and antimicrobial edible film that has the potential to extend the shelf life of foods with wet surfaces, such as meat, cheese, and cut fruit and vegetables.

The film is similar in texture and appearance to plastic wrap but it is edible and made out of a combination of two naturally occurring substances. One is chitosan, a fiber derived from crustacean shells, and the other is cellulose nanofiber, a tiny material originally extracted from wood pulp.

The findings are published online in the journal LWT - Food Science and Technology.


Yanyun Zhao (left) and Jooyeoun Jung hold hamburger patties covered by the film. Photo by Chris Branam, OSU

“We put two unique materials together to enhance the functionality of food packaging and solve very challenging problems facing the food industry,” said Yanyun Zhao, a professor of food science at Oregon State University who led the study.

Researchers have been developing edible films for food packaging and preservation for decades, Zhao said, but the material dissolves when exposed to water. That’s a problem for packaged food with high water content and wet surfaces, Zhao said.  

Cellulose nanofiber holds up when exposed to water but doesn’t protect against bacteria that cause foodborne illness, or oxidation, which leads to deterioration of stored food products.

Chitosan, a key ingredient in crab shells and shrimp shells, acts as an antimicrobial and an antioxidant. In tests with fresh beef patties in her lab, Zhao and her team combined the strengths of both fibers. Wrapped around the patties, the film inhibited the growth of bacteria E. Coli and listeria, and it prevented the surface moisture transfer between the layered patties.

“We improved water resistance, antimicrobial functionality and mechanical properties, so the film has broad applications as stand-alone films for packaging food with high water content or as coatings for food with wet surfaces,” Zhao said.

The film could replace non-biodegradable waxed papers or other synthetic polymers that are currently used in meat packaging, Zhao said.

Further study is needed to validate its application in other food products, she said. While cellulose nanofiber and chitosan are prepared from natural sources, for food usage and human consumption they need approval to obtain a “Generally Recognized as Safe” label from the Food and Drug Administration.

Zhao, an OSU Extension Service value-added food products specialist, has a long track record for developing edible films and coatings that prolong the shelf life of foods.

In 2004, she and her colleague patented a chitosan-lysozyme composite film/coating technology for food applications. In 2009, she developed a coating for fish fillets that incorporates chitosan and fish oil. In 2013, she used pomace, the typically discarded pulp from crushed wine grapes, to make colorful, edible coatings and films that can be stretched over fruits, vegetables and other food products. They contain antioxidants and control the growth of some bacteria.

Source: Oregon State University

Publication date: 6/14/2017

 


 

Other news in this sector:

11/17/2017 UK labelling company extends hands-on facilities for customers
11/13/2017 New Ulma packing machine for Belgian tomato grower
11/6/2017 US: 44% of fruit and veg go to waste, but better packaging could help
11/6/2017 Waitrose trialling environmentally friendly packaging for organic tomatoes
11/1/2017 "Red makes consumers retain attention to food labels"
10/31/2017 Euro Pool System and La Palette Rouge share knowledge in packaging pooling
10/27/2017 New packaging brings longer shelf life and less waste for herbs
10/19/2017 DS Smith to showcase new enhancements to wax-free boxes for produce
10/18/2017 UK: New tomato packaging prevents transport mess
10/18/2017 Italy: Irplast introduces Food Contact Tape
10/16/2017 New peel and reseal lidding film for compostable and recyclable fibre punnets
10/13/2017 New Zealand: No food safety risks with food packaging materials
10/13/2017 Changing Polish market drives new packaging demand
10/10/2017 US (CA): Mann Packing removes non-GMO labels from lettuce
9/19/2017 Ukraine: Opening of new packaging plant for greenhouse production
9/19/2017 Tattooed cucumbers in the fight against plastic
9/18/2017 Spain: Young people prefer carton or wood packaging for fruit & veg
8/25/2017 Clay-based antimicrobial packaging keeps food fresh
8/9/2017 Earthcycle earns OK Compost certification for Europe
8/8/2017 US: Which horticultural plastics can be recycled and where?