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SVARNISH: varnish development with antimicrobial, oxygen and water vapour barrier properties and improved physic-mechanical properties, to be used in food industry

Final Report Summary - SVARNISH (SVARNISH: varnish development with antimicrobial, oxygen and water vapour barrier properties and improved physic-mechanical properties, to be used in food industry)

Executive Summary:
In 2011 the flexible packaging sales in Europe were €11.6 billion, which represents a 5.5%
increase compared to year 2010. Most of this value increase was due to escalating raw material costs, which were mainly recover by increasing the prices to the consumers. Of the total food cost, approximately 8% of the price to the consumer is spent on food packaging and processing.

The films used for food packaging are compound by laminated films from different material; these films can be divided in monolayer (15% recyclable materials), duplex (60%), triplex (20%) and multilayer (5%).
A number of broad drivers in the packaging sector are shaping innovation in product and process development: reduction in materials usage, lightweighting, increase in the barrier properties requirements, increase the speed production, increase the product shelf life, improve the environmental balance, recyclability or biodegradability. Plastic packaging supposes a great environmental problem, due to their extensive uses, their difficulty to be recycled and their high volume/weight ratio. The pressure on packaging has dramatically increased in the past few years. Consumer perceptions, environmental associations are pushing for more ‘sustainable’ packaging.

SVARNISH project aims are to reduce the use of laminated multilayers films with a single varnish formulation that can be easily applied. Development of a formulation to produce a highly transparent varnish with a high barrier to oxygen and water will allow shelf-life extension, reducing food waste and potentially reducing reliance on metallised, multi-layered films, thus reducing cost and improving recyclability.

The SVARNISH project overcome limitations related with the traditional food plastic materials by using polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) and essential oils to develop a varnish for flexible packaging for food industry, with antimicrobial oxygen and water vapour barrier properties, and improved physic-mechanical properties for monolayer. Monolayer material for bakery product (BOPP) with varnish for improved barrier properties and antimicrobial activity did effect the texture and to some extend the odour of the product. Monolayer material (PET) with varnish for potential improvement of barrier properties and antimicrobial activity have been tested on Chicken Breast filet showed significant reduction in bacterial growth, related to total viable counts (TVC), lactic acid bacteria, Brochothrix and Enterobacteriaceae.
The consortium consist of 4 SMEs in the supply chain covering the industry of raw material needed to improve the varnish to the final printing process. In addition, the consortium has implemented an end user for validate the product and ensure a global market opportunity, and considering the contacts and the global impact that this product will have on the market. The SMEs will profit from commercialisation of the developed material and process. The SMEs in the consortium outsourced the main research and development activities to tree RTD performers.
The Consortium are: ARTIBAL – SME Varnish manufacturer - Spain, SNANO – SME Nanoparticle manufacturer – Turkey, AROMA – SME Active compound manufacturer – Czech Republic, AHSA – SME Printing packaging manufacturing – Greece, Ferrero Group – Large company End user – Italy, Nofima – RTD Performer – Norway, AIDO – RTD Performer – Spain, MATRI – RTD Performer – UK. (AIDO and MATRI are bankrupt by 2016).

Project Context and Objectives:
SVARNISH global objective is to develop a varnish for flexible food packaging industry, with antimicrobial, oxygen and water vapour barrier properties, and improved physic-mechanical properties for simplifying multilayer structures and improve simple ones. The 85% of the films used for food packaging industry will be recycling, [60% of the duplex structures and the 15% of monolayer] .

Scientific and Technological objective and Goals

S2 - Characterization of an antimicrobial volatile compound for aerobic bakery mold suitable for food packaging (according to regulation)
S5 - Antimicrobial Nanoclay concentrated dispersion in liquid polymeric matrix by in situ polymerization: In situ polymerization reaction yield should be 100%, measured by analysis for unreacted quaternary ammonium. Nanoclay dimension should be under 20nm, measured with TEM or SEM
S6 - Antimicrobial Nanoclay concentrated dispersion in liquid polymeric matrix by in situ polymerization, should have barrier properties. WVTR <0.5 g/m2/24h (ASTM F1249), target value for oxygen barrier: OTR. <25 cm3/m2/24h atm (ASTM D3985)
S7 - Antimicrobial Nanoclay concentrated dispersion in liquid polymeric matrix by in situ polymerization should be stable, at least 3 month. Particle dispersion, particle size (already established in objective 5 and 1)

Integrated objective and Goals

I1 - Formulate a solvent-based varnish with concentrate dispersion of polymer nanocomposites with antimicrobial properties, for being printed in Flexography and Gravure technologies. Target Viscosity: 30 s (measured Ford viscosity cup and stress rheometer), target value for surface tension 28 dinas/cm, measured with OCA system.
I2 - Obtain flexography and gravure printing structures using new varnish. Monolayer and Duplex structures. Monolayer structures should have duplex mechanical properties showed in table 1.3.3b duplex structures should have triplex barrier properties target values showed in table 1.3.3b: OTR<70 cm3/m2/24h atm.
(ASTM D3985), WVTR<1,0 g/m2/24h (ASTM F1249, and antimicrobial activity, inhibition of aerobic bakery mold, in more than 80% using in vitro or agar diffusion method.
I3 - Obtain recyclable monolayer and duplex structures with antimicrobial properties and global migration ≤ 10 (mg/dm²).
I4 - Extend shelf life of bakery products packaged with new simplified and improved structures stored at room temperature between 4 months and 5 months, by comparison.
I5 - Validate packaging properties in experimental batches from bakery products on 2 different product lines comparing current packaging properties and new structure properties.
I7 - Predicted in food packaging price a reduction of 20% (duplex and triplex structures).
I8 - Predicted in waste material a reduction of 8-10%.
I9 - Predicted in energy consumption a reduction of 50%.

Project Results:
Expected final results - knowledge and development of:
1. Nanoclays behavior
2. Method for nanoclay functionalization for a fully exfoliation
3. Procedure for volatile compound inclusion in nanoclay
4. Kinetic study for the essential oils antimicrobial release of the antimicrobial nanoclays
5. Concentrated formulation of fully exfoliated nanoclays with encapsulated antimicrobial
6. Functional varnish formulation
7. Varnish printing parameters for flexography and gravure printing process

Potential Impact:
SVARNISH is a commercial and exploitation business opportunity; in order to structure a successful exploitation, it is mandatory that the foreground is adequately protected. The SMEs have therefore identified the issues related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and protection to be of paramount relevance. These activities will be led by the EM and will make recommendations to the Governing Board regarding protection. It will be the Governing Board responsibility to decide on the protection strategy before allowing the exploitation and dissemination of the results. There are no existing anticipated business agreements which may impose limitations on the subsequent exploitation or information or inventions generated as a result of the project.

ARTIBAL, as the Exclusive varnish manufacturer for the European Market for 5 years, has planned two different exploitation strategies depending on the outcome of the project. The decision-making criteria will be the final functionality and the price level for the final product.
The combinations of these factors could restrict the markets and/or potential customers. Therefore, exploitation will be related to the existing ARTIBAL’s clients positioned in most markets and countries or, on the other hand, exploitation will be focused only to specialised clients in niche markets and/or applications. Likewise, channels to the market place will be also defined by the above mentioned criterion; in the first case general, wide channels will be used, including seminars and the like, whereas in the second case product will be introduced to the market through individual meetings with selected customers.

A project website was set up in the start of the project.
In connection to the kick-off meeting there was a press release on all the beneficiaries’ website and was pick up by other presses. Around month 18 the project had an additional press release, (attach to this report).
Results have been presented
- in the International Nanotechnology Conference 15-17 June 2115 in Paris where Dr Benjamin Naden - MATRI gave an oral presentation. The abstract and presentation are attach to this report.
- In the conference Innovation in Food Packaging, Shelf life and Food Safety 15-17 September 2015 a poster was presented with the title “Food packaging varnish development for enhanced gas barrier and antimicrobial properties (Dr M. K. Pettersen and Dr L. Axelsson – Nofima, Dr B. Naden and L. Pilon – MATRI, Dr L. R Garrido – AIDO). The poster and abstract are attach to this report.

A banner and dissemination article have been written and distributed among the beneficiaries.

List of Websites: