Researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, US, successfully designed a
new packaging material that is biodegradable, sustainable, and kills
harmful microbes. Their study is published in/ACS Applied Materials and
The packaging material was developed through electrospinning of zein
from corn, together with antimicrobial compounds, cellulose, and acetic
acid. Thus, the material is considered biodegradable and can potentially
help cut down the amount of plastic waste.
"The sustainable and biodegradable active food packaging, which has
inbuilt technology to keep bacteria and fungus at bay, is of great
importance to the food industry. It could serve as an environmentally
friendly alternative to petroleum-based polymers used in commercial food
packaging, such as plastic, which have a significant negative
environmental impact," said Prof. Mary Chan, Director of NTU's Centre of
Antimicrobial Bioengineering and co-leader of the project.
Strawberries wrapped in the smart packaging remained fresh for a week,
which is three days longer than those that were stored in conventional
plastic boxes used for strawberries.