Materials

Cloves and silver make for better food packaging

Cloves and silver make for bet...
The plastic combines cellulose with clove oil and silver nanoparticles
The plastic combines cellulose with clove oil and silver nanoparticles
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PhD student Vesta Navikaitė-Snipaitienė (left) and Paulius Pavelas Danilovas examine the material
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PhD student Vesta Navikaitė-Snipaitienė (left) and Paulius Pavelas Danilovas examine the material
The plastic combines cellulose with clove oil and silver nanoparticles
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The plastic combines cellulose with clove oil and silver nanoparticles

The petroleum-based plastic film typically used in food packaging is difficult to clean up and recycle, and it remains in landfills for many years after disposal. Led by Paulius Pavelas Danilovas, scientists from Lithuania's Kaunas University of Technology (KUT) have developed a new food wrap that's not only biodegradable, but that should also keep food fresh for longer than conventional plastic.

Made mainly from a plant-derived cellulose composite, the new material also contains clove essential oil along with ionic silver nanoparticles.

The former provides it with anti-oxidizing qualities by binding free radicals, while the latter adds an antimicrobial effect by killing microorganisms. Surprisingly, it was found that the addition of the silver also makes the plastic more elastic and thus stronger.

PhD student Vesta Navikaitė-Snipaitienė (left) and Paulius Pavelas Danilovas examine the material
PhD student Vesta Navikaitė-Snipaitienė (left) and Paulius Pavelas Danilovas examine the material

According to the researchers, the material should break down completely after being discarded, within no more than two years. The university is now working on commercializing the technology.

While KUT is using clove oil and silver to keep food fresh, other institutes developing biodegradable food wrap have had success using grapefruit seed extract, oregano essential oil and milk protein.

Source: Kaunas University of Technology

2 comments
MikeHingle
The softening agents in petroleum based plastics have endocrine disrupting action and hormone similar molecules that disturb us. Does your new plant based plastics have this problem ???
Nairda
This has no endocrine disrupting properties, and does not rely on oil. Therefore does not fit the agenda, so it will not "succeed" But deep down I hope it will.