NanoPack is moving to the next level

May 2018

One year from the start of the project, the EU-funded NanoPack Project has achieved one of its goals of producing an antimicrobial film that could be used for food packaging to prevent spoilage, thus increasing food shelf-life and reducing food waste.

According to a statement by NanoPack, this was possible thanks to the joint efforts of the different partners of the Packaging Working group, which contributed with their expertise to the film-making chain. The Technion (Israel) and Bio base Europe plant (BBEPP, Belgium) were involved in technology transfer and production of antimicrobial raw material. Next, the antimicrobial raw material was compounded with polyethylene by Carmel Olefins (Israel) to produce antimicrobial pellets. Finally, Constantia flexibles (C-Flex, Austria) produced the plastic films, which Technion tested for their antimicrobial properties on foodstuff.

The antimicrobial raw material produced at BBEPP showed almost no loss of antimicrobial agent during processing, including compounding and film production. “This is a huge advantage, since it maximises the antimicrobial effect of the film packaging on the foodstuff. This achievement was possible thanks to the joint efforts of BBEPP, who carefully chose the amount of antimicrobial raw material to use in order to maximise the antimicrobial effect, and Carmel Olefins, who investigated the best compounding parameters to achieve homogeneous plastic pellets,” it said.

In C-Flex, film production parameters were also set in order to yield a film of very good quality. Several films differing in thickness, production technique and number of inner layers were produced. Many of them showed an antimicrobial activity, and they were used by Technion during antimicrobial tests, the statement said.

The three-year project is aimed at demonstrating, validating and testing food-packaging products with antimicrobial surfaces based upon natural materials. NanoPack will address scientific, technological, economic, safety and regulatory challenges to ensure that consumers eventually will be able to benefit from this novel packaging.

Following the successful first year, the second year of the project will focus on optimising the film-making process. In the upcoming months, the antimicrobial raw material and several film configurations will be tested to address different types of food packaging. Experiments with real food packaged in these novel films will also be performed.

Earlier, the project revealed the results of new antimicrobial efficacy tests that demonstrate the ability of its innovative film to extend bread shelf life by an extra three weeks at Anuga FoodTec, which took place in Cologne.

NanoPack is an EU-funded project which aims to develop solutions for extending food shelf life.

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