Can this edible food wrap solve one of food industry’s biggest environmental issues?

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • Researchers from India and Russia have produced an edible food wrap made from a compound found in brown algae.
  • The food wrap also contains ingredients that have antioxidant properties. 
  • The food wrap is water-soluble and safe for the environment and humans. 

An edible food wrap produced by Indian and Russian scientists may just be the answer to the world’s problem on unrecyclable food packaging. 

The food wrap is made of natural ingredients that are safe for both humans and the environment. It can be used for packaging produce, bakery products, meat, poultry, and seafood.

Published in the Journal of Food Engineering, the research describes three food film types based on the compound sodium alginate, a seaweed biopolymer extracted from brown algae.

Rammohan Aluru, senior researcher at the organic synthesis laboratory at Ural Federal University, and co-author of the paper explains that the molecules of sodium alginate have film-forming properties and that the compound works as “liquid-gel in an aqueous medium.”

The researchers cross-linked alginate molecules with ferulic acid (a derivative of cinnamic acid), a natural antioxidant, to produce a water-soluble food film that’s edible, strong, homogeneous, and more rigid to prolong the life of food products.

According to Grigory Zyryanov, professor of the Department of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry at Ural Federal University, “Food stays fresh longer due to the antioxidant components that slow down the oxidation processes.” 

The food films dissolve in water by almost 90% in 24 hours.

Zyryanov also said that natural antiviral agents like garlic, turmeric, and ginger can be added to the films to prevent the spread of virus and extend the shelf life of food. 

The authors said they did not use any special equipment for the production of the food films, and that the food films can be produced by food products and film manufacturers on an industrial scale.

Grigory Zyryanov said polymer production plants can also produce the food films as long as they meet the food production standards. Having an ocean nearby that can supply an inexhaustible source of algae will make the production even simpler, he added. 

Scientists from the Sri Venkateswara and Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswavidyalayam Universities in India, with support from India’s University Grants Commission and the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, made the research possible. 

Sodium alginate is an edible biopolymer used as a thickener and stabilizer. Ferulic acid is an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antitoxic, antiviral, antibacterial, hepato-, and cardioprotective properties. 

Source: Good News Network

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