Fabrication and Characterization of Biodegradable PLA-Zeolite Composites (Includes TEC2007-0123)

 

Introduction

 

Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) enhances quality, extends the shelf life of perishable foods, and prevents loss revenues due to food spoilage. MAP is required because the balance and interaction of certain gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen, with packaged foods contributes to either poor or high food quality. Advances in packaging materials and systems that enable more control of the quantities of gases for food and pharmaceutical packaging applications are beneficial.

 

Description of Technology

 

Michigan State University’s invention provides bio-based, multi-functional plastic packaging material based on polylactide (PLA) and zeolites. The packaging material exhibits properties that enable control of the permeability of oxygen and carbon dioxide in packaging systems. Specifically, the material allows increased retention of carbon dioxide and the expulsion of oxygen from packaging systems, which enables extended shelf life and improved product quality.

 

Key Benefits

  • Increased shelf life and quality of fresh foods: The PLA-Zeolite composites enable selective gas exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen, which promotes a balance that favors extended shelf life and freshness.
  • Value-added cost effectiveness of packaging material: The PLA-Zeolite composites minimize revenue loss from the return of spoiled foodstuffs and increase shelf life, enabling a longer opportunity to sell fresh food products.
  • Bio-based (PLA) membrane structures with improved performance characteristics: The PLA-Zeolite membranes exhibit significantly better permselectivity for carbon dioxide over oxygen than neat PLA. For modified atmosphere packaging applications, it is ideal to trap a certain level of carbon dioxide and expel oxygen.

 

Applications

 

The primary application is for food packaging applications, including ready-to-eat meals, fresh produce, and meats. This invention also is useful for modified atmosphere packaging applications for foods, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products.

 

Patent Status

 

Patent pending

 

Inventors

 

Susan Selke, Rafael Auras, Isinay Yuzay

 

Tech ID

 

TEC2009-0011

 

Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University
herlache@msu.edu