Smart food packaging developed in Mexico

Scientists from the CIQA have created environment-friendly plastic packaging for food preservation

Smart nano-plastic food packaging developed in Mexico
CIQA researchers are developing nanometric materials known as nanoclays, which aim to block gases and reduce the risk of bacteria contamination - Photo: Henry Romero/Reuters
English 26/01/2019 14:20 Notimex Mexico City Actualizada 14:22

A group of scientists from the Center for Research in Applied Chemistry (CIQA) have developed an intelligent and environment-friendly plastic packaging method for food preservation.

The wrappings contain nanoparticles that provide the package with "smart" characteristics such as the release or absorption of substances to or from food, as well as labels with antimicrobial features that change color or shape depending on the food’s condition.

Saúl Sánchez Valdez, the project coordinator, said that there are different types of nanoparticles that give specific characteristics to the packaging.

"For example, it has nanoparticles that control the growth of microorganisms, fungi, and bacteria. There are others that prevent the passage of gases and slow the passage of oxygen so that the food takes longer to oxidize," he said.

José Alberto Rodríguez González, a CIQA technician, indicated that intelligent packagings were meant to transpire food.

"In the case of some fruits it is important to release substances created during the ripening process to slow the natural decaying process," he said.

According to the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), CIQA researchers are developing nanometric materials known as nanoclays, which aim to block gases and reduce the risk of bacteria contamination.

“The coating is made out of silver nanoparticles. When these particles come in contact with the microorganisms, notably the Escherichia coli, they significantly reduce their ability to multiply to the point where the bacteria disappears,” explained Rodríguez González.

Researchers have tested the pilot project on meat and fruits such as apricot. The preliminary results showed that these biodegradable packagings with nanoparticles can extend the shelf life of these products by 50%.
 

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