Researchers at the Islamic Azad University of Saveh in Iran have developed new technology that uses nano packaging to extend the shelf life of food.

The research demonstrated that the properties of polymeric materials in food and pharmaceutical packaging can be enhanced by the use of clay and iron oxide nanoparticles.

Project director Gholamreza Khalaj was quoted by Mehr News agency as saying: The use of this nanocomposite packaging can cause a marked increase in shelf-life of the products it contains."

"These two types of nanoparticles offer two different mechanisms to prevent passage of oxygen from the package."

“These two types of nanoparticles offer two different mechanisms to prevent passage of oxygen from the package; simultaneous use of clay and iron nanoparticles brings about synergic effects to further boost the shelf life of food and pharmaceuticals,” he added.

The research involved the production of thin packaging films from layers of polyolefin nanocomposite granules (polypropylene).

After analysing the gas permeability of nanocomposite films, the researchers found that using 1% nano clay and 0.1% iron oxide nanoparticles could achieve the greatest increase in shelf life.

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Other faculty members involved in the research included Hamidreza Ahmadi, Mohammad Javad Khalaj and Rasoul Lesankhosh Monfared.