idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Nachrichten, Termine, Experten

Grafik: idw-Logo
Thema Corona

Imagefilm
Science Video Project
idw-News App:

AppStore

Google Play Store



Share on: 
01/04/2022 12:52

Ecological coating for Bananas

Rainer Klose Kommunikation
Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

    Empa and Lidl Switzerland have jointly developed a cellulose protective coating for fruit and vegetables. The novel coating is made from so-called pomace – squeezed fruit and vegetable peels. The innovative project can reduce packaging and prevent food waste.

    Plastic packaging in grocery stores protects fruits and vegetables from spoilage, but also creates significant amounts of waste. Together with the retailer Lidl Switzerland, Empa researchers have now developed a protective cover for fruit and vegetables based on renewable raw materials. For this project, Lidl chose Empa as a partner because Empa had decades of research experience with cellulose products.

    Keeping fruits fresh at home

    In Empa's Cellulose & Wood Materials laboratory, the researchers then spent more than a year developing a special protective cellulose coating that can be applied to fruits and vegetables. The result: Coated fruits and vegetables stay fresh significantly longer. In tests, the shelf life of, for instance, bananas was extended by more than a week. This significantly reduces food waste. "The big goal is that such bio-coatings will be able to replace a lot of petroleum-based packaging in the future," says Gustav Nyström, head of the Empa lab.

    Production from press residues

    The idea is to process so-called pomace into fibrillated cellulose. Pomace is the solid residue left over after extracting the juice from fruit, vegetables or plants. Previously, this plant leftover was disposed of in biogas plants or directly on the field; in the future, it will be used to create a protective coating for fresh fruit. The coating is either sprayed onto the fruit or applied to the produce as a dip and is easy to wash off. As it is harmless to the consumer, it can also be consumed without harm. The potential of cellulose coatings is by no means exploited yet; there is the possibility of adding additives such as vitamins or antioxidants.

    Throughout the country

    In summer, the highly promising preliminary study, which has been ongoing since 2019, was successfully completed and the main study launched. The cellulose layer developed at Empa will be tested and further improved over the next two years together with Lidl Switzerland and a fruit and vegetable supplier. The project is supported by Innosuisse, the Swiss innovation agency. The aim is for the new technology to be used in all 150 Lidl stores throughout Switzerland following the successful main trial.


    Contact for scientific information:

    Dr. Gustav Nyström (Cellulose coating)
    Cellulose & Wood Materials
    Phone +41 58 765 4583
    Gustav.Nystroem@empa.ch

    Editor / Media contact
    Rainer Klose
    Empa
    Communication
    Phone +41 58 765 4733
    redaktion@empa.ch

    Corina Milz
    Lidl Switzerland
    Communication
    Phone +41 71 627 82 00
    media@lidl.ch


    Original publication:

    L Amoroso, KJ De France, CI Milz, G Siqueira, T Zimmermann, G Nyström; Sustainable Cellulose Nanofiber Films from Carrot Pomace as Sprayable Coatings for Food Packaging Applications; ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. (2021); DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c06345.
    https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c06345


    More information:

    https://www.empa.ch/web/s604/cellulose-coating-for-bananas


    Criteria of this press release:
    Journalists
    Biology, Environment / ecology, Materials sciences, Nutrition / healthcare / nursing
    transregional, national
    Research results, Transfer of Science or Research
    English


    Bananas with and without Empa coating in a shelf life test


    For download

    x

    Empa researchers Kevin DeFrance (left) and Gustav Nyström (right) developed the sustainable cellulose protective coating for fruits and vegetables together with Corina Milz from Lidl Switzerland.


    For download

    x

    Help

    Search / advanced search of the idw archives
    Combination of search terms

    You can combine search terms with and, or and/or not, e.g. Philo not logy.

    Brackets

    You can use brackets to separate combinations from each other, e.g. (Philo not logy) or (Psycho and logy).

    Phrases

    Coherent groups of words will be located as complete phrases if you put them into quotation marks, e.g. “Federal Republic of Germany”.

    Selection criteria

    You can also use the advanced search without entering search terms. It will then follow the criteria you have selected (e.g. country or subject area).

    If you have not selected any criteria in a given category, the entire category will be searched (e.g. all subject areas or all countries).