"Killer Paper" Potential as Food Packaging Material



By: SARAH BAUDER  
Published: January 20th 2011
in News » Israel

Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University

Israeli scientists have developed a technique of coating paper with nanoparticles of silver, which combats the spoilage of food by killing bacteria such as E. coli and S. aureus. The new food packaging material was designed by a research team led by Aharon Gedanken, at the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

 

The “killer paper” is coated with silver nanoparticles- each 1/50,000 the width of a human hair-that recently have been used as a bacteria-combating coating on plastics, textiles, fibers, and metals for biomedical applications.

 

In laboratory tests, the paper coated with silver nanoparticles, displayed potent antibacterial activity towards two major causes of bacterial food poisoning, E. coli and S. aureus, "suggesting its potential application as a food packaging material for longer shelf life," the researchers write.

 

The researcher team states that the nanoparticles, which have a longer-lasting effect than larger silver particles, could help overcome the growing problem of antibiotic resistance bacteria.

 

The technique could provide an alternative to conventional methods of food preservation, such as heat treatment, radiation, or cold storage. However, producing nanoparticle coated paper suitable for commercial use has proven difficult in the past. Yet, the scientists describe the development of an effective, long-lasting method of anchoring silver nanoparticles onto paper by ultrasound, or the use of high frequency sound waves.

 

The findings were described last month in the journal Langmuir, published by the American Chemical Society.



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