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Bio-based smart packaging for enhanced preservation of food quality.

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - BIOSMART (Bio-based smart packaging for enhanced preservation of food quality.)

Período documentado: 2020-08-01 hasta 2021-12-31

The Project summary
Current food packages typically are lightweight and address highly tailored performance needs. However, they are composed of multiple and different plastic layers, often including aluminium. These are difficult to recycle into individual components, do not address residual food issues or guarantee the real food due-date. The challenge is addressed by developing an all compostable strongly simplified package with improved mechanical and barrier properties compared to the reference biobased packaging, “non-sticky” surfaces and real due-date sensors. The novel package is “good enough” for several food applications, the entire package is “bio-organic” for easy collection, composting or recycling.

The objectives
The BIOSMART project is developing smart bio-based, compostable or recyclable packages addressing the needs of fresh and pre-treated food applications. Moreover, the novel packaging system will form the basis for tailoring performance and functionality to specific flexible and rigid food packages in diverse market segments. A holistic ecosystem approach is pursued by offering solutions that bring enhanced performance and acceptable economics to the value chain and facilitate implementation and large-scale commercialization. Critical issues that differentiate the present packages from the future all-bio-based and compostable ones are enhanced active and smart functionalities that make possible: light weighting, reduced food residues, shelf life monitoring and longer shelf life, easier consumer waste handling, and all this at a competitive cost to the incumbent. The BIOSMART project thus encompasses an approach for selectively integrating super-hydrophobic surfaces, microencapsulated phase change materials, barrier coatings, sensoring devices, and new bio-active antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds, into all-bio-based packages.

The Conclusions
The Biosmart Project developed nanoclays reinforced biobased packaging, incorporating antimicrobial or antifungal actives applied by plasma, and innovating barrier coatings. The smart biobased packagings are monitored with sensors to monitor food shelf life to reduce waste during packaging production (through quality control) and during storage in the supermarket.
The Main achievements

The Development of active and smart functional bio-based packages addressing the demands of selected food market segment.
Different smart functionalities (sensors, barrier coatings, antimicrobial and antifungal solutions) have been implemented in biobased and compostable modified atmosphere film sealed trays for fish, ham and cheese packaging, to monitor food shelf life. Also paper/plastic laminated packaging have been scaled up implementing barrier coatings and sensors.

Scale up active and smart functionally technologies to prototype at pilot scale.
The manufacturing productivity of antimicrobial and antifungal lipopeptides increased by a factor of 40, reducing the price by a factor of 50. The actives have been linked to the biobased polylactic (PLA) films and introduced as a blotter into the packaging. Biodegradable oxygen and water barrier coatings were scaled up to protect PLA films. Smart sensors to detect oxygen and amine concentration have also been developed and applied at the inner side of the top film to control food self-life.

The Improvement of mechanical properties of the Polylactide (PLA) film were achieved using nanoclay composites using cast extrusion processes at pilot scale, increasing up to 25% the young’s modulus and the elongation to fracture by up to 36%. The barrier properties have been also improved in relation to PLA, reducing oxygen transmission rate (OTR) by up to 25% and the water vapour transmisión rate (WVTR) by up to 30%.

The paper packaging innovations
The biodegradable flexible film (PLA with nanoclays coated with biodegradable nanocomposite) has been laminated with cellulose, applying the sensors in transparent windows.

The recyclability and design for recycling
The recyclability of the paper/PLA laminate and paper/PE laminated has been compared, being more efficient for the cellulose paper/PLA laminated solution. The cellulose/PLA laminate reduces the environmental impact by 40% in comparison with the cellulose/polyethylene (PE) laminate.

The monitoring of food shelf life
The active and smart technologies were applied to food package demonstrators (fish, ham and cheese) including antimicrobial or antifungal actives linked to PLA films by plasma, barrier coatings and oxygen, carbon dioxide and/or amine sensors. Modified atmosphere has been used to elongate shelf life. Sensors have been applied allowing a 100% control of the protective gas composition and monitor packaging self-life.

The packaging sustainability
The overall environmental impact of the value chain, including the novel material selection was studied. The carbon footpring has been reduced by 19% due to the use of biobased plastics in comparison to fossil based plastics. The environmental footprint of the food waste is much higher than the bioplastic footprint.

Protocols development and contribution to standardization
The standard protocol to evaluate antimicrobial properties of the actives has been improved to better assess the antimicrobial properties during the different steps of the analysis. Also innovative protocols have been used to assess consumer preference, sensory and microbiological assessment during food self life degradation.

The packaging design application.
An application has been developed to calculate the barrier properties at the packaging design phase.

The communication and dissemination activities are described in the project website The oxygen sensor 100% safe and sustainable food packaging process has been awarded the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label !. The PLA with nanoclays were patented before the Biosmart project. During the project, it was improved the mechanical and barrier properties, reaching also the Food Approval label.
The progress of the BIOSMART project beyond the state of the art is to prove the successful implementation of non-fossil fuel-based packages and monitoring sensors in food packaging markets.

Wider Market Benefits
• Open Access to products, packaging technology, and functionalized packages to stimulate faster implementation and market acceptance
• Improved product safety for consumers with all-bio-based packages, thanks to the possibility to food self life monitoring
• Knowledge sharing made easy through App technology enables tailored selection of bio-based package design

Wider Economic Benefits
• The BIOSMART package can be applicable to other sectors/categories and market segments such as pharma, cosmetics, electronics, etc.
• The retailer can reduce food waste monitoring food self life.

Wider Social Benefits
Reducing food waste is a major issue for the society. Safety of plastic packages is an important consumer concern, and post-consumer product recycling is a significant cost to society .
• Reduce the quantity of food preservatives locating the actives in the packaging.
• Simulation driven packaging design tool to predict barrier properties of biobased packaging
• Reduction of food waste by citizens with high impact on saving cost and environmental challenges