Food Life Extension

Disease Prevention

Problem

Food loss (spoilage) receives less media visibility than food waste. Food loss is associated with issues in the food supply chain (such as storage, refrigeration and transportation), while food waste is discussed in terms of developed countries that throw out already‐processed foods. Spoilage causes food to be unsafe for human and animal consumption.

The need to feed an ever-increasing world population makes it obligatory to reduce the millions of tons of avoidable perishable waste along the food supply chain. A considerable share of these losses is caused by non-optimal cold chain processes and management.

Food spoilage is a complex process, and the type of product (intrinsic parameters) and the way it is packaged and stored (extrinsic parameters) select for the types of spoilage microorganism that can grow quickest under those conditions and hence lead to the spoilage of the product

Solution

Spoilage-detecting packaging film for food based on pH-sensitive dye

pH-sensitive nanoparticles for detecting and preventing food spoilage

Nanoparticles can be used to detect and prevent food spoilage. As a result, food retail stores will offer healthy food options that are free from health risks.

An expiration date or expiry date is a previously determined date after which something should no longer be used, either by law or by exceeding the anticipated shelf life for perishable goods. Expiration dates and consequently sell-by dates are one of the retailers most significant losses and most of the time they are very conservative. A pH-driven indicator will provide real-time knowledge of whether a perishable product is safe to be consumed.

Spoilage should be monitored through production, transportation, distribution, and storage and should be monitored ongoing. This invention provides a real-time view of whether spoilage is occurring and to what extent

Science

The physical structure of the nanoparticles enables it to be a potential and useful tool for food suppliers. At the core of its composition, nanoparticles contain a hydrophobic core, meaning that the particles will never completely react with water. This core can contain multiple agents that will indicate the condition of food spoilage.

The first, essential agent is either a hydrophobic dye or a hydrophobic antimicrobial agent. The hydrophobic dye will permeate if the food is in a condition of food spoilage. The hydrophobic antimicrobial agent will prevent the outgrowth of the bacteria.

On a chemical level, the structure of the nanoparticles changes as the condition of the food changes. The reason is that the change in condition induces a change in pH. The change in pH will cause the opening of the hydrophobic core, releasing the hydrophobic agent.

In order to maintain the efficacy of the nanoparticles, the core contains a copolymer repeat unit and a pH responsive dendrimer. Both agents will interact in a way where the structural integrity of the nanoparticles is maintained in a change of conditions.

Benefits

A study of pork at differing temperatures was conducted. The study proved that the film with red dye was able to calculate the pH within 0.5 pH interval. In addition, the color changes were apparent over time, implying that a developed pH nanoparticle solution can provide a real time visual of the condition of meat products.

Refer to the Patent - US20180284092A1

Contact Us

Dr. Kalyan Kalwa

kalyan.kalwa@healthinno.org

617-863-0108

1 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02142