Jaime Lopez Cervantes, director of the project aimed at using shrimp waste. (Photo: octi.guanajuato.gob.mx/Stock File/FIS
Shrimp waste to be developed for anti-oxidant packaging
Thursday, December 23, 2010, 07:40 (GMT + 9)
Mexican scientists, in cooperation with specialists from Spain and Portugal, are investigating the chemical properties of shrimp waste for use in assessing the development of antioxidant and antimicrobial packaging that prolong the useful life of foodstuffs.
The project will be financed through contributions from various sectors. The Fund for International Cooperation in Science and Technology (Foncicyt), comprising Mexico and the European Union (EU), with USD 4.2 million (around EUR 257,000) and another USD 2.8 million (EUR 172,000) being contributed by academic institutions and companies sharing development.
The program is headed by Dr. Jaime Lopez Cervantes, of the Technological Institute of Sonora (Mexico). Also involved are researchers from the Center for Food Research and Development, the company Bioderpac (from Sonora), the Gaiker Foundation (Spain), the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and from the National Health Institute, Dr. Ricardo Jorge from Lisbon (Portugal).
The researchers explain that the molecules found in shrimp as chitosan and astaxanthin are most useful. These are extracted from the fat and other waste of shrimp and are then incorporated into new materials made of plastic, which are used to manufacture bottles and other containers, reports Antimio Cruz for La Crónica de Hoy.
"This project aims to develop a methodology to use shrimp waste to generate active packaging with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties," said the project director.
"The analytes to be obtained from these wastes are incorporated into plastic matrices poilietileno (PE) and polyamide (PA) to prepare the active packaging," added Lopez Cervantes.
Then, the antioxidant and antimicrobial capacity of these containers will be assessed to obtain extraction processes at industrial level.
Experts noted that while there are many materials that are used for food packaging such as plastics, paper, cardboard, aluminum or a combination of various materials, none is completely inert.
All packaging materials are food interactions that maintain and, therefore, food is affected if they spend long periods in contact with the container.
The concept of "active packaging" is to incorporate some food preservatives on the development of the container, so that they act by increasing the shelf life of a bagged product.
By Silvina Corniola