A major EU-financed project is focussing on the development of ‘active’ packaging based on raw materials from shrimp shell, which improves and conserves food products and biodegrades after use.
Norwegian food research institute Nofima is participating in the n-CHITOPACK project where researchers are exploring biodegradable packaging made of chitin and chitosan derived from shrimp shells that will improve and conserve food products. Products range from hard bioplastic, which is as robust as conventional plastics, to thin film that can come in direct contact with food products.
Chitin and chitosan are biocompatible, naturally biodegradable polymers, with non-toxic, antimicrobial and UV adsorption characteristics. When used as an integrated part of the packaging, chitosan can have an antibacterial effect on the food products.
The CHITOPACK project aims to expand on the positive properties of chitin nano-fibre in the development of new food packaging that is biocompatible, 100% naturally biodegradable and satisfies EU requirements for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The project will contribute to increased competitiveness in the market and solving environmental challenges.