IIT Kharagpur researchers develop eco-friendly meals packaging materials with cucumber peels

NEW DELHI: Are you discarding cucumber peels after making ready your salad? They could quickly discover their method again to your kitchen within the type of eco-friendly meals packaging developed by researchers on the Indian Institute of Know-how (IIT), Kharagpur. In keeping with the group of researchers, cucumber peels have larger cellulose content material than different peel waste. Cellulose nanocrystals derived from these peels can be utilized for making meals packaging materials which is biodegradable and has low oxygen permeability.

“Whereas single-use plastic is consciously being averted by shoppers, they nonetheless stay largely in circulation as meals packaging gadgets. Pure biopolymers are unable to make their method on this business as they lack energy, elongation, barrier property, optical property, and in some instances even organic security,” mentioned Jayeeta Mitra, Assistant Professor, IIT Kharagpur.

“In India, cucumber finds huge use in salads, pickles, cooked greens or (is even) consumed uncooked and likewise within the beverage business, resulting in a big quantity of peel biowaste which is wealthy in cellulose content material.
“Cucumbers generate about 12 per cent residual wastes obtained after processing both the peels or entire slices as waste. We’ve got used the celluloses, hemicellulose, pectin extracted from this processed materials for deriving new bio-materials that are helpful as nano-fillers in bio-composites,” she added.

Speaking in regards to the findings of the analysis, Mitra mentioned, “Our research reveals that cellulose nanocrystals derived from cucumber peels possess modifiable properties because of the presence of considerable hydroxyl teams, which resulted in higher biodegradability and biocompatibility.”

“These nanocellulose supplies emerged as robust, renewable and financial materials of the close to future on account of distinctive properties like a excessive floor space to quantity ratio, gentle in weight, and wonderful mechanical properties. Thereby, such nanocrystals, when strengthened as nano-fillers in bio-composites movies, can produce efficient meals packaging supplies with low oxygen permeabilities,” she mentioned.

The research revealed that cucumber peels possessed larger cellulose content material (18.22 computer) than different peel waste. It additionally offered higher insights into their crystalline, thermal and colloidal properties of cucumber cellulose.

“This non-toxic, biodegradable and biocompatible product has no hostile results on well being and atmosphere and therefore might have an enormous market potential by rendering administration of natural waste with excessive cellulose content material worthwhile,” mentioned Sai Prasanna, a analysis scholar on the institute.

Other than the meals packaging and beverage industries, the researchers are optimistic about its scope in varied fields like thermo-reversible and tenable hydrogels making, paper making, coating components, bio-composites, optically clear movies, and as stabilisers in oil-water emulsion.

“Additionally, CNCs discover good potential purposes in biopharmaceutical purposes similar to drug supply and fabricating momentary implants like sutures, stents, and many others.,” Prasanna mentioned.

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