Fresh Layer: onderzoek naar een eetbaar laagje plastic
You're reading this because you ate (or is it drank?) an edible water bubble in HZ University of Applied Sciences' pavilion at Concert at SEA. It is one of the many applications of edible plastic made from seaweed.
The HZ research group Marine Biobased Chemistry (MBC) is researching the development of sustainable packaging materials that are edible in the Fresh Layer project. The main problems with plastic are well known: it is hardly recyclable and when it enters the sea it creates a plastic soup that is harmful to flora and fauna.
So we need to invent an alternative to plastic. In Fresh Layer, the HZ and partners are investigating whether and how to develop sustainable, edible packaging materials. In particular, the HZ research group MBC is looking at invisible, edible protective layers around food products, a so-called fresh layer.
Such a fresh layer must be functional, degradable and above all edible. Among other things, the MBC researchers are looking at the criteria for the applicability of this type of packaging. Alginate is the basis. It is a substance found in brown seaweed. Previous research has shown what combinations of natural substances you need to use to make a coating with the good properties. A follow-up study will examine how we can apply the fresh layer, for example to apples and pears.
An important point is whether you can extend the shelf life of food products with such a fresh layer. For example, we are looking at whether we can slow down the ripening process in a natural way so that fruit stays fresh longer and we have to throw away less. In this way we not only prevent a lot of plastic waste, but also use food responsibly.
Visit www.hz.nl/onderzoek for more information about the project and other research projects of the HZ.