Nanotechnology, a popular stream of science has been present in important discussion at various conferences and forums. The immense positive effect of nanotechnology applications in diverse fields is not concealed anymore. Despite the fact how a nanotechnology application can bring about change in the whole food packaging system, its implementation is still stagnant at some point. Reasons being the huge expense of research, nanotechnology laws and the fear of consumer’s acceptance, researchers are still hesitant to fully implement the nanotechnology application in food packaging.
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Although we can see a number of nanotechnology applications being already used in the food industry. Some concerns still prevail, but on the whole it looks quite promising in increasing the shelf life of food in a much cost effective way.
Types of packaging made with the help of nanotechnology applications:
Standard packets for food storage is made with flexible plastics to restrict oxygen from entering the packet and damaging the food. But these plastics often allow oxygen and other gases to enter which means the favorable atmosphere may be hampered causing damage food. Other materials such as glass or metal can prevent such gases entering the safe atmosphere, but that limits the opportunity of flexibility as well as increases the cost of manufacturing. To bring out a solution for these problems. Researchers utilized nanotechnology applications. For safe packaging a thin film coating which is a nanometer thick can work as a protective layer preventing various gases to enter and damaging the food. It will not only be flexible but also less expensive.
Apart from serving as a basic barrier, food packaging can be made safer with antibacterial properties. It will keep the food safe and reduce the growth of bacteria. Antibacterial coating is becoming very popular nowadays as the main reason for the deterioration for almost everything, be it food or a wound is microbes. Nanotechnology applications in food packaging use silver nanomaterials in antimicrobial packaging, other materials likely to be used for future are zinc oxide nanoparticles and chitin a material found in crabs and shrimps.
Smart food packaging
Besides the basic applications which promises to increase the shelf life of food and prevent microbes damaging the food, nanotechnology experts are actually thinking of smart options which will actively control the package environment with special sensors that will allow the consumers to know when the food is starting to decay. These smart packaging comes equipped with special nanoelectronics that will indicate the food quality at various times.
Other nanotechnology application in food packaging, which is in early stage of development are self cooling packages. Researchers suggest that a chemical process will be carried on like evaporation to control the temperature inside the food package. Infact, photovoltaic cell can be utilized for power cooling. Self-cooling methods can help reduce refrigeration cost.
Another nanotechnology application is the use of self-healing polymers which are used by the researchers and can be found in the market as well. It actually helps to keep the food quality intact even if the package has some damage like small tears.
Colour indicating packages is also a great nanotechnology application used in food packaging. These special kind of packages made out of nanoparticles tends to change colour indicating the decaying of food.Tag(s) : nanotechnology applications, nanotechnology, nanoscience, nanotechnology in food,