Now-a-days consumers have become more health conscious and that’s increases the demand fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are highly perishable commodities, because these contain high amount of water. Once these are harvested or detached from mother plants, water quickly evaporates, resulting in shriveling, loss of quality and poor shelf life of product. Majorly, postharvest losses are caused by weight loss, bacterial and fungal growth, physiological disorders and pests. The hazardous chemicals coatings such as waxes, formalin, etc. are being used to increase shelf life of produce and protecting them from microbial decay. Apples are often coated with insoluble wax from petroleum products that adversely impacts the digestive system. It's not just about wax coated apples, but almost all fruits and vegetables commonly available in the market are being tampered with for higher profits by unscrupulous traders and farmers. Further, to increase the shelf life and to make them visually attractive, Formalin is often used for extending the shelf life of fruits vegetables, leading to several health problems. The use of these hazardous chemicals is a big health concern for the consumers.
Bioplastics have received considerable interest as an alternative packaging materials to plastics, which are made from petroleum byproducts. The bioplastics may degrade under appropriate conditions of moisture, temperature and oxygen availability and do not produce any toxic residue. Due to stringent environmental regulations, packaging industry is exploring economically viable biodegradable packaging materials for food use with desired properties and less impact on the environment. Biopolymers such as chitosan, gelatin have emerged as effective alternatives to plastic packaging materials, with desired packaging functionality and biodegradability. In this work, we have successfully fabricated hybrid nanocomposite film consisting of chitosan, gelatin, polyethylene glycol and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) by solution casting method. A series of films was prepared having different contents of AgNPs and chitosan. Nano-Ag addition led to enhanced mechanical properties and decrease in light transmittance in visible light region. However, transparency studies, X-ray Diffraction (XRD) pattern, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and optical microscopy confirmed transparent and homogenous nature for all newly prepared films indicating the uniform distribution of the components in the developed films. Further studies on packaging of red grapes indicated that the shelf life of the fruit extended for additional two weeks in case of the hybrid film. Therefore, This research work presented a novel composite film that can be applied for shelf life extension of fruits and vegetables, and may have potential for commercial applications in Food Industries.
Link: . We have successfully developed a biodegradable hybrid films consisting of chitosan, gelatin, polyethylene glycol and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) by solution casting method.
• Fruits of abundantly available medicinal plant Mimuosops elengi have been employed for synthesis of silver nanoparticles.
• Incorporation of nano-Ag led to enhanced mechanical properties, and to decrease light transmittance in visible light region of the composite film.
• The developed films used to wrapped the fresh grapes, that resulted in extended shelf life of the red grape for additional two weeks.
• The present work thus may help to fabricate commercially viable effective packaging material for food industry applications.
Problem Scale: Worldwide