The European Union will invest 7.7 million euros in a consortium led by Prof. Esti Segal from the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering at the Technion, which will develop active, antimicrobial food packaging that will extend the shelf life of food.
7.7 million euros - this is the amount that the European Union invests in the NanoPack consortium, headed by Prof. Esti Segal from the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering at the Technion. The goal of the consortium: development of active, antimicrobial food packaging that will extend the shelf life of the food. The innovative packaging is based on clay nanotubes (Halloysite Nanotubes) that release natural antimicrobial substances. It will prevent the development of foodborne diseases and epidemics, reduce the need for preservatives and reduce food loss.
Prof. Segal and her group have developed technologies in recent years that allow natural extracts of plants to be combined with plastic materials. These extracts are known for their ability to inhibit growth and even kill bacteria, mold and fungi. The plastic bags that will be developed as part of the consortium will release the extracts in a controlled manner into the packaging space and prevent the development of microorganisms that cause food spoilage. This way you can safely extend the shelf life of a variety of food products and reduce the use of preservatives.
The EU's announcement of the support for the consortium came close to the publication of The national food loss report in Israel which presents a bleak picture. Every year, food weighing 2.4 million tons and worth 19.5 billion NIS is lost in Israel. This is a third of the total food produced - a rate similar in scope to orders of magnitude in Europe and the US, where far-reaching goals have been set to reduce the phenomenon by 2030. According to Prof. Segal, "the success of the project may provide a local and global solution and significantly reduce the amount of food thrown into the garbage in the world, which stands Currently on 1.3 billion tons per year, thus reducing the damage to the environment and the economic damage."
The consortium, which will be officially inaugurated at the end of the month, is being established as part of the European Union's HORIZON 2020 program and 18 research institutions and leading industrial companies from Belgium, Austria, Norway, Spain, Israel, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, France, Germany and the Netherlands are partners in it.
The European Union will support the new consortium for three years while addressing the scientific, technological, economic, safety and regulatory challenges. As part of the consortium, experimental production lines (pilot lines) will be set up in an industrial environment, testing all stages of packaging development and production with the aim of bringing them to commercialization.