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EU project for nanotechnology-based antimicrobial packaging

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An EU-funded project is aiming to extend food shelf life by using novel antimicrobial surfaces applied in active packaging.

NanoPack intends to develop, scale up and run pilot lines in industrial environments to manufacture and validate antimicrobial polymer films that are commercially feasible.

The consortium, which includes Constantia Flexibles, Dawn Meats Group, Arla Foods, Fraunhofer and the Active and Intelligent Packaging Association as a partner organization, has been awarded €7.7m.

Existing materials which have antimicrobial properties include nanomaterials such as silver particles but these have raised health concerns of toxicity and microbial resistance.

Dr Ester Segal, NanoPack's coordinator and associate professor at the Technion, said: “NanoPack will demonstrate a solution for extending food shelf life by using novel smart antimicrobial surfaces, applied in active food packaging products.

"NanoPack will enhance food safety for consumers by significant growth inhibition of foodborne microbes, which in turn will prevent foodborne illness outbreaks and early spoilage."

NanoPack, which is led by the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, is funded as part of Horizon 2020 and will run until the end of 2019.

The project will use polymer composites based on natural Halloysite Nanotubes (HNTs) as carriers, capable of tailored release of bioactive payloads. Due to size, HNTs do not migrate from packaging into food.

They slowly release natural and EU-approved essential oils into the packaging headspace. The oils have antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties and can be tailored to inhibit growth of most foodborne microbes.

COMPARE-ing data to mitigate foodborne outbreaks

Another project focussed on improving identification and mitigation of foodborne outbreaks has come to the half way mark.

COllaborative Management Platform for detection and Analyses of (Re-)emerging and foodborne outbreaks in Europe (COMPARE) was awarded €20m under the Horizon 2020 programme and runs until November 2019.

It will create an analytical framework and data exchange platform to allow real time analysis and interpretation of sequence-based pathogen data with associated data (e.g. clinical, epidemiological).

It will be linked to systems, networks and databases such as those used by ECDC, NCBI and EFSA.

Co-ordinated by Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) other partners include Robert Koch Institut (Germany), Istituto Superiore Di Sanita (Italy), ANSES (France), DEFRA (UK), the Australian National University and Artemis One Health Research (Netherlands).

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