Scientists from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States developed a biodegradable food packaging material that kills contaminating microbes and extends the food shelf life by days.
The waterproof packaging uses a corn protein called zein, plus starch and other natural compounds that can kill common fungi and bacteria such as E. Coli. It is designed to release the exact required amounts of the compounds to deal with any bacteria or humidity that may occur in the food. This ensures that the packaging can endure exposure to different environments and eliminates the risk of the antimicrobials being ingested and affecting the digestion process.
The new packaging material could help increase shelf life of fresh foods by days, thus improving food safety and reducing food waste. It is also a viable alternative to plastic packaging, responsible for millions of tons of plastic waste worldwide.
How do you like the idea of food staying fresh longer and the packaging itself becoming food for microbes once used? Please let us know in the comments below.