Crab Shells and Trees Combine to Create New Food Packaging

– Approximately, one-third of the food that comes from farms for example, gets wasted before it gets
to a consumer’s table. One of the ways that this
problem is going to be solved as the population of the planet
grows is using packaging. What our research is trying to do is to create sustainable solutions to creating flexible packaging. Now, this is packaging that could be used as a flexible wrapper around fresh food, around convenience foods. The materials that we’ve developed involve layering of two of the most common biopolymers that occur in nature. Cellulose nanocrystals derive from trees which could be produced sustainably through the paper industry. We also combine this
with chitin nanofibers, which are a relatively new material. In nature, the chitin in
distributed in a crab shell as micron-sized fibers. The chitin and the cellulose
are oppositely charged. That allows them to
build a nice sub-layers as they’re coated and
create dense thin films that block the transmission of oxygen. (gentle music)

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