Biodegradable Packages Will Keep Your Food Fresh

2017-03-08 15:30

KTU researchers are creating biodegradable food packaging materials, which, in addition, will also keep food fresh for longer. This innovation would solve two problems at once: assist in cutting down packaging waste and in reducing the number of food-borne illnesses.

On average a European country citizen produces around 160 kilos of packaging waste; around 19 percent of which is plastic.

“Food packaging is mainly made from various plastics, which are being produced from non-renewable sources and are non-biodegradable. Also, it is not always possible to recycle them as leftovers from food amount to almost 50 percent of the packaging waste”, says Paulius Pavelas Danilovas, researcher at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) Department of Polymer Chemistry and Technology.

He recommends to change the attitude towards the food packaging, and to choose such packaging material, which would never become waste, but by naturally degrading could turn into fertiliser.

Headed by Danilovas, the team of researchers at the KTU Department of Polymer Chemistry and Technology are working on developing a technological solution for such a package – they investigate the possibility to create it from cellulose composites.

Also, by enriching the packaging material with active components, it can help maintain freshness of food for longer.

Ethereal Oil Increases Food Shelf Life

According to World Health Organisation, more than 350 thousand of people die from food borne illnesses every year. 52 thousand of deaths are caused by salmonella, 37 thousand – by e. coli bacteria. 40 percent of food poisoning cases are children younger than 5 years old.

“Our goal was to create a biodegradable package, which could help to keep food fresh for longer, which could have anti-oxidizing or antimicrobial properties”, says Danilovas.

Vesta Navikaitė-Snipaitienė, chemical engineering PhD student at KTU and one of the research team members was responsible for testing the efficiency of various ethereal oils when added to the cellulose-based film.

“Active components of clove ethereal oil are very effective in tying free radicals; this oil proved efficient in enriching packaging with anti-oxidizing qualities. This effect helps to keep food fresh for longer, but such a package is not antimicrobial”, says the researcher.

Silver Renders Antimicrobial Effect

“To achieve antimicrobial effect, we added ionic silver particles to the cellulose based packaging. The results we achieved were quite unexpected – the silver particles made the packaging film more elastic and stronger”, says Danilovas.

The film which is enriched with silver inhibits the growth of microorganisms and its antimicrobial properties remain active for long.

According to Danilovas, it is a great challenge to develop food packaging as for this thermal methods are always being used and cellulose does not have thermoplastic properties.

“We are excited to have found composites, which not only allow cellulose to turn into fluid condition, but also are not toxic, which is very important in all products related to food handling”, says KTU researcher.

The modified cellulose packaging degrades in nature in around two years. The production of the packaging prototype was practically tested in a Lithuanian enterprise.

The commercialisation of biodegradable active food packaging products, which could replace the non-recyclable plastics is in near future plans of the researchers. 

  • Active packaging is being developed using cellulose compounds
  • Active packages are being created at KTU laboratories
  • Paulius Pavelas Danilovas, researcher at KTU Faculty of Chemical Technology
  • Vesta Navikaite-Snipaitienė
  • Active packaging extends food's shelf life
  • Active packages are being created at KTU laboratories
  • Active packaging extends food's shelf life
  • Active packaging is being developed using cellulose compounds
     
  • Active packages are being created at KTU laboratories
     
  • Paulius Pavelas Danilovas, researcher at KTU Faculty of Chemical Technology
     
  • Vesta Navikaite-Snipaitienė
     
  • Active packaging extends food's shelf life
     
  • Active packages are being created at KTU laboratories
     
  • Active packaging extends food's shelf life
     

Related news

2015-09-11 14:15
If You need an answer to the question „Why focus on Career?“ there is one given below. Katie Jarvis in her presentation will share some simple tactics and techniques that can help to focus and build Your career. Traditionally ‘Career development’ meant upward promotion. However, organisations are flatter and leaner...
2018-04-19 14:00
Kaunas 2022 Contemporary Capital together with Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture and other partners is organising an International Summer School for students of architecture and heritage protection and professionals of these fields. The school is part of a wider series...
2018-04-19 14:00
Kaunas 2022 Contemporary Capital together with Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture and other partners is organising an International Summer School for students of architecture and heritage protection and professionals of these fields. The school is part of a wider series...
2018-04-18 17:00
Team of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania are designing an innovative device, which will increase aircraft safety during takeoff. During the first 10 seconds of the takeoff roll, the device predicts if the aircraft will reach the sufficient speed for taking off. The idea behind the...
2018-04-18 16:00
On April 18–30 Kaunas will become the jazz capital of Lithuania. More than 20 free concerts in new and traditional spaces are only a small part of the programme, which features such internationally acclaimed artists as Laura Mvula and Gregory Porter. You will find the full programme of the events on Kaunas Jazz...
2018-04-17 11:15
Mechanical Engineering, Information Systems and Software Systems were the three Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) study programmes awarded the special Investor’s Spotlight quality label this year. The Label indicates that these programmes are matching the expectations of business and that their graduates are most...
2018-04-12 13:00
The demand for experts in aviation engineering is growing rapidly. “Given the trends and the speed as well as the extent to which aircraft depend on electronics, it is evident that there will be continued demand for avionics professionals,” says Karolis Čepukas, Kaunas Aircraft Maintenance (KAM) director in the...
image
video
2018-04-12 12:30
Group of researchers at Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania are developing new generation sponge-like wound dressings with hyaluronic acid. Antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory wound dressings stimulate tissue regeneration and can be especially efficient in treating deep wounds that are difficult to...