Employees of the American Chemical Society have created eco-friendly packaging for the storage of various products. It is based on a film consisting of casein, which is a component of milk. This protein is obtained as a result of the curdling of the drink.
Visually, the material is no different from the widespread polyethylene. The main feature of the new packaging is that it can be eaten. The product does not need to be removed from the packaging for preparation, as the material dissolves completely at high temperatures.
The developers claim that the packaging is completely harmless to both the human body and the environment. Today, the vast majority of food packaging is made from petroleum products. At the same time, the decomposition time of such materials is extremely long. For example, polyethylene can decompose within 100-200 years!
Films consisting of protein do not allow oxygen molecules to reach food, so the packaging will reliably protect products from spoilage. Thanks to these films, according to the creators of the new material, it will be possible to drastically reduce the amount of household waste. In addition, the unique material can make food taste better. For example, a sweet breakfast cereal will get a great flavor from the film. Another advantage of such packages is the speed of cooking. For example, powdered soup can be thrown into boiling water along with the bag.
The development was first demonstrated at the 252nd ACS exhibition. It is expected that the material will find application in a number of industries in the near future. For implementation, it is necessary that the technology for the production of such packages is economically viable. However, to begin with, the material must pass a rigorous review by the United States Food and Drug Administration. The inspectors must confirm the safety of the use of material for food.
Scientists note that this is not the first idea to create edible packaging. However, the technology for the production of such materials is currently not perfect. So, there was an attempt to create food packaging from starch. However, such a material is porous, which leads to the entry of oxygen into the microscopic holes. As a result, food is stored for only a short time. Milk protein does not contain pores, which allows for long-term storage.