The innovative film is made from chitosan, a natural molecule found in the shells of seashells. This by-product of the food industry contains key antifungal properties that inhibit mold growth. The packaging film also contains essential oils and nanoparticles, both of which have antimicrobial properties.
“The vapors of essential oils protect strawberries. And if the film comes into contact with strawberries, the chitosan and nanoparticles prevent molds and pathogens from reaching the surface of the fruit, ”said Professor Lacroix, an expert in food science.
Among other things, the packaging could be inserted into blotting paper that the industry currently uses for strawberries.
The formula developed for this packaging film has the additional advantage of being effective against several types of pathogens. The team tested the film on four microbial cultures. “Our work has shown the effectiveness of the film against Aspergillus niger , a very resistant mold that causes significant losses during strawberry production, ”said Lacroix.
This type of bioactive packaging has also shown antimicrobial efficacy against pathogens Escherichia coli , Listeria monocytogenes , and Salmonella Typhimurium, which originate from contamination during food handling and are of major concern to the food industry.
Benefits of irradiation
Professor Lacroix and his team also associated the packaging film with an irradiation process. When the packaging film was exposed to radiation, the team members noted a longer shelf life, halving the level of loss compared to the control (without film or irradiation). On day 12, the team recorded a wastage rate of 55% for the strawberry control group, 38% for the group with the film, and 25% when irradiation was added.
Irradiation not only extended shelf life, it also helped preserve or increase the amount of polyphenols in strawberries. These molecules give strawberries their color and have antioxidant properties.
About the study
Article ” Effect of packaging of chitosan / essential oil / silver nanoparticle composite films and gamma irradiation on the shelf life of strawberries «By Shiv Shankar, Diako Khodaei et Monique Lacroix was published in Dietary hydrocolloids . The study received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the international atomic energy agency (AIEA).
INRS is a university dedicated exclusively to graduate research and training. Since its creation in 1969, INRS has actively participated in the economic, social and cultural development of Quebec and ranks first for the intensity of research in Quebec and in Canada . INRS is made up of four interdisciplinary research and training centers in Quebec City, Montreal, Laval , and Varennes , with expertise in strategic sectors: Water Earth Environment, Energy Materials Telecommunications, Urbanization Culture Society, and Armand-Frappier Health Biotechnology. The INRS community includes more than 1,500 students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members, and staff.
SOURCE National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS)
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