The three year project aims at improving nanotechnology-based antimicrobial packaging for perishable foods, thus enhancing food safety and reducing food waste caused by early spoilage.
By Anav Silverman/TPS
The European Union recently awarded €7.7 million to the international NanoPack Project, led by the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, to develop a solution for extending food shelf life. NanoPack is funded as part of HORIZON 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
According to Dr. Ester Segal, NanoPack’s coordinator and associate professor at Haifa’s Technion, NanoPack is working to introduce nanotechnology-based antimicrobial packaging solutions to further food safety. “NanoPack will demonstrate a solution for extending food shelf life by using novel smart antimicrobial surfaces, applied in active food packaging products,” said Dr. Segal in a statement.
“NanoPack will enhance food safety for consumers by significant growth inhibition of food-born microbes, which in turn will prevent food-borne illness outbreaks and early spoilage,” Dr. Segal explained.
Subsequently, NanoPack would help reduce the staggering 1.3 billion tons of food wasted each year, which cause major economic loss and significant harm to the world’s natural resources according to Dr. Segal.
“We intend to present better performing, safer and smarter products that will position Europe as the leader in food nanotechnology and smart antimicrobial packaging while increasing competitiveness and growth,” said Dr. Segal.
The active polymer films, developed by NanoPack, exhibit broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties unmet by existing state-of-the-art materials, which include nanomaterials such as silver particles that are currently used and have raised health concerns of toxicity and microbial resistance.
Applying the power of nanotechnology, the project will employ polymer composites based on natural Halloysite Nanotubes (HNTs) as reliable and safe carriers, capable of tailored release of bioactive payloads. Maximizing safety, HNTs in the NanoPack food packaging slowly release minute amounts of potent, volatile, natural and EU-approved essential oils into the packaging headspace. The oils exhibit both antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties and can be tailored to inhibit growth of most food-borne microbes.
The NanoPack consortium is comprised of 18 partner organizations that include leading industrial and research institutes from Belgium, Austria, Germany, Spain, Israel, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, France, and the Netherlands.
NanoPack recently held its opening conference at the facilities of Bio Base Europe (BBEU) in Ghent, Belgium from January 24–26, 2017.
Reprinted by Ynet from TPS
Taken from the Technion website at: http://www.technion.ac.il/en/2017/01/nanopack-for-safe-food-packaging/
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