The project, which is led by the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, is funded as part of HORIZON 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. EFFoST is one of the consortium partners in the project.
“NanoPack will demonstrate a solution for extending food shelf life by using novel smart antimicrobial surfaces, applied in active food packaging products”, said Dr. Ester Segal, NanoPack’s coordinator and associate professor at the Technion. “NanoPack will enhance food safety for consumers by significant growth inhibition of food-borne microbes, which in turn will prevent food-borne illness outbreaks and early spoilage”. According to Dr. Segal, NanoPack will help to reduce the staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of food which is wasted each year.
Dr. Segal added that NanoPack will “present better performing, safer and smarter products that will position Europe as the leader in food nanotechnology and smart antimicrobial packaging while increasing competitiveness and growth”. The so-called active polymer films developed by NanoPack exhibits broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties unmet by existing materials, which include currently used nanomaterials such as silver particles. Currently raised materials have raised health concerns of toxicity and microbial resistance.
Applying the power of nanotechnology, the project will employ polymer composites based on natural Halloysite Nanotubes (HNTs) as reliable and safe carriers, capable of tailored release of bioactive payloads. Due to their size, HNTs are unable to migrate from the food packaging into food. Maximizing safety, HNTs in the NanoPack food packaging slowly release minute amounts of potent, volatile, natural and EU-approved essential oils into the packaging headspace. The oils exhibit both antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties and can be tailored to inhibit growth of most food-borne microbes.
NanoPack held its opening conference at the facilities of Bio Base Europe (BBEU) in Ghent, Belgium on January 23–25, 2017.
The NanoPack consortium consists of the following partners: Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (Israel), Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (Belgium), Carmel Olefins Ltd (Israel), Constantia Flexibles International (Austria), Tommen Gram (Norway), AIDISA (Spain), Dawn Meats (Ireland), Arla Foods (Denmark), Pão de Gimonde (Portugal), Vertech Group (France), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Germany), DHI (Denmark), National Research Centre for the Working Environment (Denmark), Active & Intelligent Packaging Association (Netherlands), European Food Information Council (Belgium), European Federation of Food Science and Technology (Netherlands), Aarhus University MAPP Center (Denmark), Agora Partners (Israel)