Scientists from India and Russia have created edible food wrappers for packaging produce, bakery, poultry, meat and seafood.
Designed to replace one of the least recycled materials on the planet, the wrap consists of natural ingredients that are safe for the environment and humans.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Food Engineering, describes three types of food films based on the well-known seaweed biopolymer sodium alginate, a compound found within the cell walls of brown algae.
“Its molecules have film-forming properties,” said Rammohan Aluru, principal investigator in the organic synthesis laboratory of the Ural Federal University and a co-author of the paper. “The biggest advantage of sodium alginate is that it acts as a liquid gel in an aqueous medium.”
The alginate molecules were cross-linked with a natural antioxidant ferulic acid (a derivative of cinnamic acid) and the delicious combination makes the film not only strong, but also homogeneous, more rigid, prolonging the life of the products, scientists say.
“Food stays fresh longer due to antioxidant components that slow down the oxidation processes.” said Grigory Zyryanov, professor at the Department of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry at the Ural Federal University. “
In addition, the films are soluble in water and dissolve almost 90% in 24 hours.
In addition, we can add natural antiviral agents to the films, which will also extend the shelf life of the food. Garlic, turmeric, and ginger contain compounds that can prevent the spread of viruses. “
According to the authors, no special equipment is required for film production. On an industrial scale, it can be created by manufacturers of food products and films.
“It can also be produced in a polymer production plant. The only condition is that you must meet the standards that apply to food production. And if there is an inexhaustible source of algae in the ocean nearby, it will be quite easy to create such films, “said Grigory Zyryanov.
Together with scientists from Sri Venkateswara and Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswavidyalayam universities in India, the investigation It had the support of the University Grants Commission of that country and the Central Institute of Engineering and Plastic Technology, also in India.
Sodium alginate is a well-known edible biopolymer of natural origin used as a thickener and stabilizer, and ferulic acid (the derivative of cinnamic acid) has a wide range of pharmacological properties, in particular anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-toxic, hepatogenic. and cardioprotective, antiviral and antibacterial, which is mainly due to the antioxidant properties of this acid.
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