We’re surrounded by plastic, and every day, we contribute to plastic pollution, even if we don’t want to.
Whenever we go to the grocery and buy our food, we buy them wrapped in plastic. We go home and unpack them, and we notice how much plastic waste there is in a single household. Can you imagine every person doing this?
How much plastic waste do we have in a day?
Scientists from India and Ural found a way to help eliminate plastic packaging.
They have created an edible food wrap that would be perfect for packaging meat, seafood, produce and even baked goods.
The said research that was published in the Journal of Food Engineering talks about the three main types of biodegradable food films from the organic material, seaweed biopolymer sodium alginate.
Inside the cell walls of brown algae, you will be able to find this amazing compound.
“Its molecules have film-forming properties,” explained Rammohan Aluru, senior researcher, and co-author of the paper at Ural Federal University said.“The greatest advantage of sodium alginate is that it performs as liquid-gel in an aqueous medium.”
The next step was to cross-link alginate molecules with the natural antioxidant ferulic acid, which transforms it into a very strong film.
As a derivative of cinnamic acid, ferulic acid also makes the organic film rigid, homogeneous, and delicious too!
What’s nice is that it can even prolong the life of the products.
“Food stays fresh longer due to the antioxidant components that slow down the oxidation processes,” shared Grigory Zyryanov, the professor of the Department of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry at Ural Federal University.
Wouldn’t that be great?
Aside from helping stop plastic pollutants, the shelf life of our food will also extend.
Not only that, the films that they are creating and finalizing are also water-soluble and can dissolve around 90% in just 24 hours!
If you think the product is promising, scientists say there’s more.
They can also enhance the quality of the biodegradable film by incorporating properties from garlic, ginger, and turmeric, thus adding natural antiviral properties to the finished product.
This film doesn’t cost much and isn’t expensive to make.
If you were to create it in bulk, then any food products and film packing manufacturers can do it.
“It can also be produced at a polymer production plant. The only condition is that it must meet the standards that apply to food production. And if an inexhaustible source of algae in the ocean is nearby it will be quite simple to create such films,” added Grigory Zyryanov.
The talented and hard-working group of scientists and researchers consists of the top scientists from the Sri Venkateswara and Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswavidyalayam Universities in India.
This promising research was supported by that country’s University Grants Commission and the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, which is also in India.
For additional reference, sodium alginate is already a well-known edible biopolymer of natural origin.
It is often used as a thickener and stabilizer.
Ferulic acid (the derivative of cinnamic acid) consists of other pharmacological properties. Some are anti-inflammatory, antitoxic, hepato- and cardioprotective, antitumor, antiviral, and even antibacterial ones.
With this breakthrough invention, the usage of non-biodegradable plastic can be minimized. Little by little, we can make this happen; we can lessen plastic pollution and opt for safer alternatives.
We can’t wait to hear more about this project.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.