Bengaluru: Have you ever imagined a food wrapping material that is anti-bacterial in nature and biodegradable as well? 

Well, researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras have invented just that!

As reported by Hindustan Times, the team has filed a patent for the wrapper.

It is further reported that the product can tackle two major problems - prevent packaged food contamination by bacteria as well as reduce the plastic waste generated in the environment when disposing the wrappers. 

It quoted Mukesh Doble, Professor, IIT’s Department of Biotechnology as saying, “Our idea was to design a food wrap that will address two major issues--solid waste and food contamination during storage due to bacterial growth. We have developed a biodegradable wrapping material with in-built anti-bacterial activity to prevent bacterial growth in stored food. The anti-bacterial compound should be safe for consumption as it is approved by the authorities and does not cause any toxicity.”

“The wrapping material we have developed also degrades at various environmental conditions with the rate of degradation varying from 4 to 98 per cent in 21 days. The wrapping material degraded rapidly in moist conditions when compared to dry ones. Hence, our wrapper is eco-friendly and can play a major role in plastic waste reduction,” he added.

More on the food-wrap:

It was used to wrap paneer, meat and chicken. Puja Kumari, research scholar at IIT Madras was quoted as saying, “Our anti-bacterial coated polymer wrapper was used for wrapping paneer, meat and chicken and its performance was tested. Samples were placed in 4 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees Celsius for 10 days and tested for the effect of the coating on reducing the bacterial growth with respect to the uncoated wrapper.” 

She stated that bacterial colonies were reduced by 99.999 per cent. 
“Our study found that 99.999 per cent reduction in bacterial colonies was observed in food samples wrapped with our anti-bacterial wrap and stored at 30 degrees Celsius for 10 days when compared with a plain wrapper. This study also suggests that our anti-microbial wrapper can, to some extent overcome, the reduced availability of cold storage units. Paneer is known to have a very low shelf life (less than 7 days) and hence extending its shelf life is a major advantage,” she added.