Coaxing crops to create animal proteins, cucumber peels for food packaging polymers, and more: The Digest’s Top 8 Innovations for the week of November 20th

November 19, 2020 |

#1 Cucumber peels found to be good feedstock for food packaging polymers

In India, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur have converted cucumber peels into cellulose nanocrystals with the potential to be used in food packaging.

Prof. Jayeeta Mitra and N. Sai Prasanna tell EET India that their high-cellulose material overcomes the strength, elongation, and barrier and optical property shortfalls of other biopolymers. “Our study shows that cellulose nanocrystals derived from cucumber peels possess modifiable properties due to the presence of abundant hydroxyl groups, which resulted in better biodegradability and biocompatibility. These nanocellulose materials emerged as strong, renewable and economic material of the near future, due to unique properties like a high surface area to volume ratio, light in weight, and excellent mechanical properties. Thereby, such nanocrystals, when reinforced as nano-fillers in bio-composites films, can produce effective food packaging materials with low oxygen permeabilities,” Mitra says.

The researchers also note that cucumber waste is abundant in the populous country. The work was published in a recent issue of Carbohydrate Polymers.
More on the story, here.

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