UK-based Cranfield University has partnered with sustainable technology company Johnson Matthey to develop new modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) that helps increase fruit and vegetables storage on farms and reduce waste.

To be developed as part of a three-year project, the new MAP will enhance management of fresh produce across the supply chain, as well as post-harvest storage and shelf-life for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Beginning next month, the project has secured £275,733 of funding from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Innovate UK.

Cranfield University environment and agrifood director professor Leon Terry said: “We can already extend the postharvest quality of fresh produce through current modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).

“Its performance is often limited, however, by an inability to respond to the changing physiology of the produce, leading to the development of suboptimal gas conditions.

“The packaging would benefit considerably if it is made flexible so that it responds to the changing physiology of the produce.”

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The university undertakes various education and transformational research in technology and management sectors.

Johnson Matthey, which is also involved in the speciality chemicals business, said that its expertise in advanced materials and technology has been helping the company to enhance solutions for its customers.

In 2015 / 2016, the company increased its gross investment in research and development by 11% to £188m.

Image: UK fruit and vegetables. Photo: courtesy of Cranfield University.