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News > Science and Tech

Argentine Scientists Develop Bioactive Paper to Protect Food, Avoid Human Health Risks

  • The development would potentially tackle a problem that affects food everywhere.

    The development would potentially tackle a problem that affects food everywhere. | Photo: Agencia Ciencia, Tecnologia and Sociedad

Published 16 February 2018
Opinion

The packaging paper and carton will have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

Researchers from Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Conicet) have developed a bioactive paper with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties to solve the storage and transport issues that cause food to decay and threaten human health.

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According to researchers, in most cases, packaged foods are damaged by micro-organisms such as molds, yeasts, and bacteria that can be harmful to humans. The research aims to provide solutions to this problem by developing a new type of paper or carton packaging where specific natural molecules are injected into the surfaces’ cellulose.

The project won an annual prize funded by food company Arcor and the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion on Tuesday. The award includes a cash component of US$7,600. Dr. Raquel Martini, one of the researchers, said the prize “is an incentive to move forward and bring scientific work closer to society because these are projects that apply to people’s daily life.”

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) packaging of food is one of the factors that affect the loss of food, together with the collection, transport, infrastructure or market and prices mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks. This means that up to a third of all food is spoiled or wasted before being consumed by people.

Dr. Martini said “the objective is to continue expanding and consolidating the bioactive packaging research and other related projects” to optimize food conservation.

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