Active packaging technologies for lengthening the first range produce shelf life.
The aim of this project is the development of a packaging system with active features comprising ethylene scavenging and moisture regulating to allow a better preservation fresh fruits and vegetables lengthening their shelf life at least 20% by slowing down their ripening and, further, rotting processes. The packaging system will be composed of a (PET/PE) tray and a (PE) flexible film playing the role of lid or flow-pack bag which will contain in their own polymeric structure some active agents with the power of getting rid of ethylene and regulating the moisture. Besides, the packaging system will not have any perforations so that it will be, in this way, a physical barrier effective against environment external agents (microorganisms, insects, dirt, chemical and physical pollutants, etc.), allowing, in turn, a suitable gas permeability to eliminate properly the ethylene, regulate moisture and gases such as oxygen or carbon dioxide, both latter having to do with the fruit and vegetables breathing and metabolism.
Fruits and vegetables is a strategical sector due to its economic importance, so according to the most recent data from the Agriculture, Food, and Environment Spanish Ministry, this market has reached 24.2 million produced tons (average 2008-2012). 4.4 million tons out of the aforementioned regarding tomato, about a third part of this food is wasted or thrown away and the EU has spotted the food waste as one of the main challenges of the food chain. When it comes to the tomato, most of this waste is related to the quick ripening that this kind of products undergoes on account of being a perishable which has a pretty short lifetime after being gathered (15 days as the longest).
Plastienvase (SP Group)
Throughout the last year HTM has carried out a large battery of trials with the aim of achieving the right incorporation of the additives developed by Avanzare into the polymeric carrier which are used by SP Group and Plásticos Romero, both regarding the ethylene scavenger (through the inclusion of 5 new additives) and when it comes to the absorption and capture of moisture (4 additives). Optimal process conditions have been studied over the tests which have been carried out taking into account some key parameters like temperature profiles, production rate, and dosages, having managed to solve in a satisfactory way the processability problems which have been arising. Thus the achievement of getting 10 new grades has been possible featuring the right incorporation of every active ingredient.
Managing to get these masterbatches has comprised a real technological challenge for HT Masterbatch which, until taking place in this project, had focused its production in manufacturing masterbatches either clear or white. Notwithstanding, the additives developed throughout this project, mainly the ones having to do with ethylene scavenging, are additives strongly colored, that has imposed the necessity of establishing cleaning and maintenance procedures on the involved extruder parts with the aim of avoiding any contamination or undesired coloration in the rest of materials. All that in addition to the shortcoming that HTM only has one production line. Besides, in every case the bulk density of the additives was extremely low, so reaching the right feeding rate to obtain the masterbatches was complicated. Thanks to the incorporation of auxiliary additives has been possible to get masterbatches featuring concentrations of about 20% in ethylene scavenger additives and around 50% when it comes to the moisture absorbers. Therefore, it can be concluded that the endeavors made by HTM have made up as the developing of a processable material with satisfactory ethylene and moisture scavenging functional properties has been achieved which can be eventually added to our commercial range of products.
Feder Interconect 2015
Total 1,066,659 (HT Masterbatch: 260,627 €)