Singaporean researchers double shelf life with chitosan-based biofilm

A team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has reported success in developing a bio-based polymer technology that prolongs the shelf life of packaged food.

The academics have twinned chitosan – a biopolymer extracted from the carapace of shrimps and other crustaceans – with grapefruit seed extract (GFSE).

The composite film has been shown to inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria to effectively double shelf life of bread, and also blocks UV radiation. The NUS researchers also note that the new materials exhibits ‘mechanical strength and flexibility that are comparable to synthetic polyethylene film commonly used for food packaging.’

Project leader, associate professor Thian Eng San, says: 'This novel food packaging material that we have developed has the potential to be a useful material in food technology.

‘Increasing attention has been placed on the development of food packaging material[s] with antimicrobial and antifungal properties, in order to improve food safety, extend shelf life and to minimise the use of chemical preservatives. Consumers are also demanding that packaging materials be formulated from natural materials that are environmentally friendly and biodegradable while improving food preservation.’

More work will now be done to examine how the bio-based film degrades at end-of-life, and to further its commercial development.

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