Food science researchers at Oregon State University have developed a new edible film wrap to keep food fresh.
Professor Yanyun Zhao and her team have created edible film in the past, but unlike other edible films, this one is water resistant and antimicrobial. The secret? Combining crustacean shells and cellulose. Chitosan is a fiber from shrimp and crab shells. It’s also an antioxidant and an antimicrobial. This is key because with cellulose alone, a food wrap is often not protected from bacterial growth and oxidation.
The edible film could revolutionize packaging for products with high water content or surface moisture. In tests with meat patties, it inhibited E. coli and Listeria growth.
Further research is needed, but initial results look promising. This could go a long way to reducing the waste caused by non-biodegradable waxed papers and other synthetic polymers currently used for meat packaging.