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Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Food Packaging Industry

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Food Packaging Industry

Nanotechnology is gaining a lot of popularity in several areas of food sciences such as food safety, packaging, processing, bioavailability, fortification, encapsulation, and pathogen detection among others. The National Nanotechnology Initiative in the U.S. defines nanotechnology as the understanding and control of matter at a nanoscale where unique phenomena enable novel applications. In the food packaging industry, research shows that nanotechnology-based food packaging offers numerous advantages over conventional food packaging materials. The nano materials used in the packaging are “smart materials.” They respond to the external environment, or repair themselves or alert the consumers about contaminations. Apart from the obvious advantage of smart packaging, the application of nanotechnology also comes with other advantages such as improvement in temperature resistance, enhanced durability, flame resistance, barrier, recycling and optical properties.

Nanotechnology in the food packaging sector uses nanomaterials, which are commonly classified into nanoparticles (NPs), nanoclays (NCs) and nanoemulsions (NEs). Nanomaterials for food packaging offer the following advantages:

  1. Improved Packaging: Nanocomposite is considered as a gold standard for improvising the mechanical and barrier characteristics of polymers. Nanocomposites improve the elasticity, gas barrier characteristics and stability of temperature/moisture parameters. They also append active or smart properties to the packaging system, thereby improving the overall packaging quality drastically.
  2. Intelligent packaging: Nanopackaging offers superior functionality in terms of communication and marketing. It provides dynamic feedback on the actual quality of packaged food and also acts as a guard against fraudulent imitation. Nanotechnology based indicator/sensor(s) are incorporated into the food package, where they can interact with internal (food components and headspace) and external environmental factors.
  3. Active packaging: Active packaging incorporates the active constituent using nanotechnology into a food package material, and the carrier component can interact with internal and/or external factors, thereby stimulating actions, which increases the shelf-life, food quality and safety of the food product.
  4. Shelf life extension: The features of improved, intelligent and active packaging undisputedly extend the shelf-life of products. In addition, nanosensors can be applied as labels or coatings to add an intelligent function to food packaging, which can detect leaks, time–temperature variations or deterioration of foodstuffs.
  5. Food safety: The application of nanotechnology will positively impact the food system across all stages from food production to processing, packaging, transportation, storage, safety and quality.

The use of nanotechnology in Cosmo Films

Though we do not exclusively define application of nanotechnology in flexible packaging, nanomaterials are already being used in flexible packaging. For example, TiO2, clay and metalized films are used for opacity and barrier properties. To know more details about Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in flexible packaging, write to us at enquiry@cosmofilms.com

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