According to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organisation approximately one-third or over 1.3 billion metric tons of all edible food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted annually throughout the supply chain. Due to the resource intense nature of growing, producing, processing, and packaging muscle-based and dairy products, this loss represents a significant cost to the food industry. Novel technologies such as antimicrobial active packaging can reduce food waste through shelf life extension of food products improving sustainability and reduce cost in the food value chain.
The innovative surface patterning technology enables deposition of any antimicrobial material (e.g. silver, copper, magnesium, natural antimicrobials etc.) onto the surface of any polymer including inert LDPE. The process is based on a block copolymer patterning on the surface of LDPE followed by the deposition of the chosen antimicrobial into the nanopatterned structure. The in vitro trails of the antimicrobial coated systems show they are highly effective against a wide range of microorganisms. These include spoilage and pathogenic bacteria (e.g. Pseudomonas spp. (PS spp), Bacillus cereus (BC), Staphylococcus aureus (SA), Salmonella spp., and Escherichia coli (E. coli)). The antimicrobial LDPE coated packaging materials manufactured using the technology were effective in extending significantly the shelf life of chicken breast fillets (CBFs) stored under chilled storage conditions (4°C) by at least 2 days compared to control LDPE packaging (i.e. from 6 days to 8 days).