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Comment Packaging

Natural film for food packaging

By Paul Grad |

A novel food-packaging material that is free from chemical additives and that can slow down fungal growth — doubling the shelf-life of perishable foods — has been developed by researchers from the National University of Singapore (www.nus.edu.sg). The researchers used chitosan, a natural and biodegradable polymer derived from the shells of crustaceans. Chitosan has several properties that make it especially suitable for applications in food technology. It is biocompatible, non-toxic, biodegradable and has good film-forming ability. The researchers, led by associate professor Thian Eng San, combines fortified natural chitosan-based composite film with grapefruit seed extract (GFSE) — an antioxidant that possesses strong antiseptic, germicidal, antibacterial, fungicidal and antiviral properties. Thian and associates worked for three years to create a composite film that prevents the growth of fungi and bacteria and also has mechanical strength and flexibility comparable to polyethylene (PE) film commonly used for food packaging. The composite film also blocks ultraviolet light, which also contributes to slowing down the degradation of food products. Laboratory experiments showed that the shelf-life of bread samples packaged with…
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