NanoPack: nanotechnology-based product packaging to increase food quality

NanoPack is an EU-funded project, which aims to develop and demonstrate a solution for extending food shelf life by using novel antimicrobial surfaces applied in active food packaging products.

The various partners in the NanoPack consortium intend to develop, scale up and run pilot lines in operational industrial environments to manufacture and validate antimicrobial polymer films that are commercially feasible and accepted by retailers and consumers alike.

The used technology will minimize the amount of preservatives required to maintain freshness, add value and assure safety to the entire supply chain. The project will employ natural Halloysite Nanotubes (HNTs) as reliable and safe carriers of bio-active compounds which are unable to migrate from the food packaging into food. Maximizing safety, they slowly release minute amounts of potent, volatile and broad-spectrum natural agents into the packaging headspace. Using nanotechnology enables:

  1. Introducing sensitive molecules into polymer films;
  2. Anti-microbial functionality without impaired film properties;
  3. Manufacturing potent antimicrobial surfaces with tunable properties, while creating a pH-triggered "gatekeeper” effect to slow down the release of the payload encapsulated. The resulting film will exhibit antimicrobial properties unmet by the current state-of-the-art.

The processes across the supply chain will be validated through 5 pilot runs on existing production lines:

  1. Loading antimicrobials,
  2. Anti-microbial HNT polymer production,
  3. Anti-microbial packaging film production and
  4. Using the novel packaging on food products.
  5. Commercial feasibility will be assessed, including consumer acceptance and legal, regulatory, safety and environmental aspects.

The success of NanoPack will result in validated consumer-accepted nanotechnology-based antimicrobial food packaging that will enhance food safety, prevent foodborne illness outbreaks and reduce food waste caused by early spoilage. Better performing, safer and ‘smarter’ products will position Europe as the leader in food nanotechnology & smart antimicrobial packaging while increasing competitiveness and industry growth.

 

Project information

  • Website: www.nanopack.eu
  • Coordinated by: Technion
  • Project coordinator: Ester Segal
  • Duration: January 2017 to December 2019
  • Funding program: European Union’s Horizon 2020
  • Grant agreement no.: 720815

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