Academics report progress on making antimicrobial plastic film wrap

Two researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in the US have indicated that they have made progress in infusing consumer plastic film wrap with antimicrobial properties...

Two researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in the US have indicated that they have made progress in infusing consumer plastic film wrap with antimicrobial properties.

Commonly referred to as cling film or cling wrap, giving plastic film made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) the capacity to inhibit mould and yeast growth would be an advantage for the food industry. Products could be wrapped and kept fresher once they had been removed from their original packaging, and there would be less need to add preservatives to the food itself. At Stout, Joongmin Shin and Naveen Chikthimmah are initially concentrating on using the enhanced film on cantaloupes.

The locally grown fruit is prone to developing mould on its outer skin, which forms into unsightly blotches. Speaking to the Leader Telegram, Shin says: 'We are seeing some good results. We have definitely shown it is possible. It is new for us and very exciting.'

The duo has developed a three-stage process to put a preservative on the flexible wrap. First, plastic film is purified with ultraviolet (UV) radiation, then it is treated with acrylic acid, before a preservative is added. The initial treatments are necessary to ensure the perseverative does not migrate on to the food once it comes into contact.

A limitation of the current demonstrator is that the treatment processes negatively impact the stretching potential of the film and make it slightly opaque. Overcoming these problems is the next objective for the researchers.

This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in food contact material , markets, and technologies.

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