Biodegradable Packaging with Cucumber peels
Cucumber peels are no massive waste after researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, produced eco-friendly food packaging using these peels.
According to one team of researchers, cucumber peels have more useful cellulose content than other peel waste. Cellulose nanocrystals obtained from these peels can be used for preparing food packaging material that is biodegradable and has below oxygen permeability.
“While customers are consciously avoiding single-use plastic, they remain mainly in circulation as food packaging items. Original biopolymers are unable to make their way in this industry as they want strength, elongation, barrier property, optical property, and in many cases even biological safety,” said Jayeeta Mitra, the Assistant Professor of IIT Kharagpur.
“In India, cucumber finds out wide use in salads, pickles, cooked vegetables or (is even) consumed raw and also in the refreshment industry, managing to a large volume of peel biowaste which is rich in cellulose content.
“Cucumbers produce about 12 percent residual wastes obtained after processing either the peels or whole slices as waste. We have used the celluloses, hemicellulose, and pectin derived from this processed material for advanced unique biomaterials which are useful as nano-fillers in bio-composites,” she told news agency PTI.
Addressing the decisions of the research, Mitra said, “Our study describes that cellulose nanocrystals procured from cucumber peels possess modifiable premises due to the presence of sufficient hydroxyl groups, which occurred in better biodegradability and biocompatibility.”
She attached that such nano cellulose materials emerged as robust, renewable, and economical material of the near future due to unique features like a great surface area to volume ratio, lightness in weight, and outstanding mechanical attributes. “Through, such nanocrystals, when reinforced as nano-fillers in bio-composites films, can perform adequate food packaging materials with below oxygen permeabilities,” she said.
The packaging material produced from cucumber peels is a non-toxic, biodegradable, and biocompatible product with no unfavorable effects on health and the environment.
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