A team of scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, U.S., has developed a “smart” food packaging material that is biodegradable, sustainable and antimicrobial. It could also extend the shelf life of fresh fruit by two to three days.
In lab experiments, when exposed to an increase in humidity or enzymes from harmful bacteria, the fibers in the packaging have been shown to release the natural antimicrobial compounds, killing common dangerous bacteria that contaminate food, such as E. Coli and Listeria, as well as fungi.
The invention is the result of the collaboration by scientists from the NTU-Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Initiative for Sustainable Nanotechnology (NTU-Harvard SusNano), which brings together NTU and Harvard Chan School researchers to work on innovative applications in agriculture and food, with an emphasis on developing non-toxic and environmentally safe nanomaterials.