Scientists from Russia presented a film that can keep food fresh several times longer. At the same time, the material does not harm the environment and is completely decomposed.
A team of chemists from RUDN University has created an antibacterial coating for food products. The mixture consists of two components that are safe for human health and form a thin, non-toxic, and biodegradable film. It has no color or taste and can increase the shelf life of products by 2.5-8 times. The research is published in Food Packaging and Shelf Life.
Food packaging is usually made from chemical compounds based on synthetic polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene. These materials are harmful to the environment and take tens, if not thousands of years to decompose. A team of chemists from the University of PFUR has created such a coating from polysaccharides – natural macromolecules that are the building blocks of living organisms. Polysaccharides do not have a negative impact on health, are biodegradable and non-toxic.
“We have succeeded in producing non-toxic chitosan derivatives with extraordinary antibacterial properties, almost similar to those of commercial antibiotics, and have proposed their use to improve film durability and antibacterial properties. Our coating was based on the SC-Na salt, which has a high film-forming ability. In addition, it is non-toxic and works as an antioxidant, increasing the shelf life of food products, ”noted Andrey Kritchenkov, Ph.D. in Chemistry, Research Fellow at the Department of Inorganic Chemistry, RUDN University.
To test their invention, the team put several bananas in plastic for 10 days. During the experiment, scientists measured their mass, vitamin C content, and the level of carbon dioxide emissions. After 10 days, these parameters were compared with the results of the uncoated control group. The coated fruit lost 3 times less weight and 8 times less vitamin C.