Researchers Develop Chitosan as a Sustainable Food Packaging Alternative

Published By : 12 Jan 2015 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

Chitosan, a material derived from crustacean shells has been used by researchers as a substitute for the by-products of petroleum for food packaging purposes. It is of prime importance from the viewpoint of environmental sustainability to develop alternative materials that can be used in place of plastics, since food packaging products have caused and continue to cause a lot of harm to the environment. 

The research group that has developed this material belong to the UPV/EHU University of the Basque country. Most of the water bodies like oceans and riverbanks are polluted with –plastics these days and the remnants of these materials are often found in organisms like fish and other aquatic organisms. Wrappers and other packaging materials that are derived from petroleum by-products cause serious harm to the environment. 

The quest for coming up with less harmful substitutes has led to many a research activities. One such research has been conducted by Itsaso Leceta, who has proved that Chitosan films are effective in the preservation of some of the properties of carrots. And it also ensures their longevity. Furthermore, Chitosan films exhibit lower toxic effects on the environment. Generally plastic films are used for protecting food from microbes and also prevent them from spoilage. 

However, the environment gets severely affected by such plastic products. The plastic films and the plastic bottles that we use extensively these days, will take around 100 to 400 years to finally degrade. Chitosan is made from the shells of prawns, king prawns, and other similar crustaceans. The best part about using Chitosan is that it is highly biodegradable. And it also possesses antimicrobial properties which is a factor that is of great importance in the food industry, since it decreases the microbial load in food items (in this case - carrots).
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