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Scientists Develop Clay-Based Food Packaging Film

Scientists from the Turkey-based Sabanci University have developed a new clay-based antimicrobial packaging film to enhance the shelf life of perishable foods.

The new packaging film, which will be presented at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), is made with an antibacterial essential oil and coated with clay nanotubes, to secure the food from over-ripening and microbial growth.

Ethylene, which is generated from the fruits and vegetables, enhances the ripening process, resulting in rotting and over ripening inside the packaging film.

The scientists integrated small and hollow cylinders, halloysite nanotubes, with a polyethylene film to remove ethylene and provide a gas barrier, which prevents water vapor and other gases from escaping and oxygen from entering the film.

Carvacrol, the antibacterial essential oil from thyme and oregano, will be induced into the nanotubes to protect the food from microbes.

Hayriye Ünal of Sabanci University said: “Food packaging that is capable of interacting with food can contribute to safety and prevent economic losses from spoilage. Specialized films that can preserve a wide array of foods are highly sought after.

“While companies can already make many films that prevent fruit and vegetables from drying out, incorporating additional properties in the same film is a challenge.”

The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey funded the process of the developing the new film.

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