The main goal of this project is to tackle the problematic of foodborne illness, by providing solutions able to cover both food safety hazards: chemical and microbiological. From the chemical standpoint, this project aims at evaluating the food safety of emerging marketed biopolymers and post-consumer recycled polyolefins by identifying the migrants coming from both types of materials. To approach the problematic of biological contamination, the marketed biopolymers used in the chemical risk assessment will be used to develop new active food packaging based on cyclodextrin nanosponges that will be used to produce novel packaging films for several types of fresh fruits and vegetables.
To reach the main goal of the project, nine specific goals will have to be fulfilled, namely:
- Evaluation of the chemical safety of the bio-based (biopolymer and bioplastic) films and recycled post-consumer polyolefins
- Generation of a database of contaminants and migrants coming from post-consumer recycled polyolefins
- Synthesis of cyclodextrin nanosponges at laboratory scale and concomitant scale-up design
- Evaluation of the chemical safety of the synthetized cyclodextrin nanosponges
- Characterization of active compounds incorporation processes in cyclodextrin nanosponges
- In vitro evaluation of the synthetized active nanomaterials against their targets, both in terms of antimicrobial activity and ethylene removal
- Design of active food packaging solutions by incorporating the synthetized active nanosponges into bio-based films
- Evaluation of the chemical safety of the packaging materials developed
- Evaluation of packaging performance on real food products, both in terms of efficiency and safety, at lab scale and at industrial scale.
Besides these major technical goals, the project will also be focused on dissemination of the results in order to attract interest and possible investment to our research, both in terms of providing facilities equipped to perform scale-up experiments and financing a possible commercialization and patentability of the packages developed. This dissemination will always take into account the confidentiality agreements signed with both companies mentioned in this project (NUREL S.A. and GENEPOL) so that no confidentiality breach involving the disclosure of specific sets of data generated in this project is disclosed to third parties.