Will be biodegradable and food-friendly as well
The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) has developed a sustainable antimicrobial wrapping material that can prevent packaged food contamination by bacteria as well as reduce the plastic waste generated in the environment when disposing off the wrappers. According to the team, this biodegradable food wrapper has an in-built antibacterial compound and is safe for consumption.
The films developed by the IIT team were made with polymeric blends containing starch, polyvinyl alcohol, cyclic beta glycans (CBG). The composition was optimised to achieve the best film with a smooth texture, flexibility, uniform thickness and good clarity. The polymers used are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The antibacterial agent selected is also approved by the food authority for consumption and includes eugenol, chlorogenic acid, betanin, curcumin and gallic acid, among others. These compounds are used regularly in Indian food and are known to possess antibacterial, antioxidant and many other beneficial bioactivities. The compound is either immobilised on the surface or coated or mixed with polymer before preparation.
The wrapping material also degrades at various environmental conditions with the rate of degradation varying from 4-98% in 21 days, more rapidly in moist conditions when compared to dry ones.