Research coordinated by Spain’s Technological Institute of Plastics (AIMPLAS) has developed packaging that uses garlic molecules to extend the shelf life of food within it.
AIMPLAS has brought together stakeholders in the PLA4FOOD project to develop a new generation of packaging that combines biodegradable and active properties that includes garlic molecules. Over time these molecules are released with their antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties.
This packaging can be rigid for trays or flexible for bags and contains three layers. The active natural additives are only in the inner layer.
For iceberg lettuce, this packaging meant that oxidation took 15 per cent longer to occur than in conventional packaging.
In all cases, the packaging meant that vegetables remained stable and was suitable for consumption beyond the same goods with the same shelf life that were wet and soft. Indeed, mould appeared on tomatoes and microorganisms were found in the conventional packaging, but not the garlic-based product.