Scientists develop antimicrobial, plant-based food wrap to replace plastic

Starch-based fibres enhance protection and reduce spoilage

Aiming to produce environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic food wrap and containers, a Rutgers scientist has developed a biodegradable, plant-based coating that can be sprayed on foods, guarding against pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms and transportation damage.

The scalable process could potentially reduce the adverse environmental impact of plastic food packaging as well as protect human health.

The research was conducted in concert with scientists at Harvard University and funded by the Harvard-Nanyang Technological University/Singapore Sustainable Nanotechnology Initiative.

The new fibres encapsulating the food are laced with naturally occurring antimicrobial ingredients such as thyme oil, citric acid and nisin. Researchers can program such smart materials to act as sensors, activating and destroying bacterial strains to ensure food will arrive untainted. 

image credit- shutterstock

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