Let’s ketchup! Cellulose film keeps tomatoes fresh for 30 days

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In India, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad have developed an antibacterial composite food packaging that keeps tomatoes fresh for up to 30 days.

Led by Dr. Mudrika Khandelwal from IIIT’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, the team used Gluconacetobacter xylinus to produce semicrystalline cellulose nanofiber from standard glucose media. The bacterial cellulose film was then dipped in silver nitrate solution, followed by sodium borohydride solution. The silver nitrate was reduced to silver nanoparticles within the pores of the bacterial cellulose.

“We can use any fruit juice that is rich in sugar or even beer and wine, which are fermented, to produce bacterial cellulose,” Dr. Khandelwal adds.

Compared with controls, the bacterial cellulose impregnated with silver nanoparticles showed 99% killing efficiency for bacteria and fungi found on rotten tomatoes. In conventional polyethylene films, tomatoes showed signs of spoilage within a week. The results were published in the Journal of Materials Science.