Synthetic, biopolymer-based hydrogel film found to be breathable, completely biodegradable, making it well suited for food packaging, especially fresh vegetables that need aeration to avoid rapid decay, Czech researchers say
October 31, 2011
– Czech researchers have tested a biopolymer-based hydrogel film and found it to be breathable and completely biodegradable, making it well suited for packaging such food as fresh vegetables, reported Food Production Daily on Oct. 31.
The material, which uses a synthetic polvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and biopolymers carboxymetyl cellulose (CMC) to create a PVP-CMC hydrogel film, allows for the flow of oxygen to maintain the freshness of foods that need aeration, mostly fresh vegetables, according to the study.
Breathability of the hydrogel films was given special attention in the study, which was entitled Biodegradable Hydrogel Film for Food Packaging and done at the Center of Polymer Systems at Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Czech Republic, Food Production Daily reported.
The film’s biodegradability was buried in soil and tested in a controlled compost environment. In five weeks, it had biodegraded with no significant hydrogel film residue.
In addition to its breathability and total biodegradability, the film was transparent and flexible as well, according to the researchers, which called such film “promising as a food packaging material.”
The use of biodegradable polymers has been limited in the past due to problems with their performance.
Hydrogel’s good oxygen barrier, transparency, and other characteristics, plus low cost, have increased their demand to among the highest of all food packaging materials, said the researchers, reported Food Production Daily.
The primary source of this article is Food Production Daily, Montpellier, France, on Oct. 31, 2011.