Norwegian food research institute Nofima is participating in a major EU-financed project in which ‘active' packaging based on raw materials from shrimp shell improves and conserves food products and after use the packaging biodegrades.
In the n-CHITOPACK project researchers are looking at biodegradable packaging made of chitin and chitosan from shrimp shells that will improve and conserve food products. Products range from hard bioplastic, which is said to be just as robust as other plastics, to thin film that can come in direct contact with food products.
Chitin and chitosan are biocompatible, naturally biodegradable polymers, non-toxic and show antimicrobial and UV adsorption characteristics, according to the project brief. Consequently Chitosan used as an integrated part of the packaging can have an antibacterial effect on the food products.
The aim of the Chitopack project is to expand on the positive properties of chitin nano-fibre in the development of new food packaging. The packaging is biocompatible, 100 percent naturally biodegradable and satisfies EU requirements for small and medium-sized enterprises. This project will contribute to increased competitiveness in the market and to solving environmental challenge, it claims.