Nanotechnology project to develop antimicrobial packaging


Thursday, 16 March, 2017


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A project to introduce nanotechnology-based antimicrobial packaging, in order to enhance food safety and reduce waste, has received €7.7 million in funding from the European Union.

The NanoPack project, led by the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, aims to develop state-of-the-art packaging solutions based on natural nanomaterials.

“NanoPack will demonstrate a solution for extending food shelf life by using novel smart antimicrobial surfaces, applied in active food packaging products,” said Dr Ester Segal, NanoPack’s coordinator and associate professor at the Technion. “NanoPack will enhance food safety for consumers by significant growth inhibition of foodborne microbes, which in turn will prevent foodborne illness outbreaks and early spoilage.”

Using 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. Due to their size, HNTs are unable to migrate from the food packaging into food. Maximising 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 antifungal properties and can be tailored to inhibit growth of most foodborne microbes.

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