The BioBarr project will focus its efforts to respond to the industrial and technological challenge of developing a new fully biodegradable food packaging with barrier performances that allow at least 10% extension of the shelf life, overcoming so the obstacles in performance that have up to date limited the food applications of totally biodegradable biopolymers.
The novel solutions applied in the project concern the smart combination of advanced technological elements such as:
- The PHA biopolymers
- New coating treatment technologies applied to PHAs
- Development and application of a completely biodegradable bio-ink for printing on the PHA-based packaging
At first the focus is on development and investigation of a new generation of bioplastic materials based on PHAs, bio-based and biodegradable polymers, to be used in the food packaging sector. At this stage the main aims are synthesis of new PHA formulations and their film producing by extrusion. Then the PHA films are functionalized in order to make them printable. The existing water-based inks will be used in PHA film printing, but new bio-based and biodegradable water based inks are also under research. New materials, i.e., both biodegradable polymers and bio-inks are studied and further validated for the use in food packaging applications.
The combination of the PHA biopolymers, new coating treatment technologies and the printable biodegradable bio-inks into an advanced food packaging represent the substantial technological advance compared to the existing because it allows to overcome performance, processing and economic drawbacks that current biomaterials tested for food packaging present.
The final product will be completely bio-based, respecting the environment. The innovative functionalization treatments, to which PHAs will be submitted, will be validated in real industrial and processing conditions.
It will be taken into account the criteria that apply to conventional packaging materials associated with foods, such as:
- Cost/benefit ratio and environmental sustainability of the process
- Shelf-life in final applications
- Marking and printing properties
- Enhanced barrier properties.
Ultimate target is develop the sustainable totally biodegradble packaging solutions for foodstuffs to decreasing their spoilage.