A biodegradable food packaging material has been created via nanotechnology, according to scientists in the Philippines.
The team at the Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) said it can protect the food and extend its shelf life.
Dr Blessie A. Basilia, who led the team, said the biodegradable film is made from starch and clay, both locally available materials.
In Basilia’s work, clay is treated with ions in a process called ion exchange which results in wider spaces between the layers of the clay, which is called organoclay or nanoclay.
Nanoclay is blended with thermoplastic starch made from cornstarch to help increase the latter’s strength and the clay-plastic blends goes through the same process and equipment used in making petroleum-based plastics, said the scientists.
They added that the material passed the migration test required for packaging films to show it would not contaminate the food.