IMRE scientist, Dr. Li Xu, and his team have developed high performance hybrid polymeric materials for food packaging to extend the shelf life of packed food by at least 50 percent and to preserve the nutritional value of food.
The team created gelatinous suspensions that can be coated onto plastic films using conventional industry production lines to produce laminated plastic packaging with oxygen barrier functions, but at lower costs when compared with metallised plastic widely used in the market. The researchers have also added an interesting “oxygen scavenging” feature to the coating by developing hybrid carbon-metal particles with high scavenging capacity to “mop” up the oxygen. Integrated into the coating, these particles are triggered by moisture to scavenge oxygen. This further protects the food from spoilage.
To date, the technologies have been licensed to companies for further exploration as potential solutions for their products. One such company, Dou Yee Enterprises, a large local enterprise, is working with Dr. Li to produce packaging for the retail market.Future development plans for these IMRE propriety technologies include incorporating sensing technologies to produce “smart” food packaging.
The IMRE developed packaging targets various types of foods such as dry food (e.g. grains) and fat-containing food (e.g. cakes).
The transparent packaging material also allows the contents to be seen.
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