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Bio-based chitosan film nearly doubles carrot shelf life

A research paper has highlighted the potential of using the biopolymer chitosan, which is derived from the waste carapaces of shell fish, to extend the shelf life of packaged food.

It is the work of Spanish scientist Koro de la Caba. Speaking to Reuters she explained that: ‘You can almost double the shelf-life of carrots with chitosan. It is edible and better for the environment than plastics.’

Chitosan could become a more sustainable option to bags and packaging wrap made of oil-based plastics. As the natural polymer is edible and tasteless de la Caba believes that in time it could be used to spray products like vegetables, giving them a natural barrier coating which prolongs their freshness. This would eliminate the need for any additional packaging.

There is a ready supply of feedstock for chitosan from the world’s fishing industry. The current impediment to commercial use is the high energy cost in processing waste shells into plastics. De la Caba adds: ‘The sustainability aspect is attracting interest from consumers and thus manufacturers – but the economic aspect is still considered most relevant by companies.’

Her group’s research on carrots and chitosan was published in the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology.

This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.