Nofima Scientists Develop Biodegradable Food Packaging Made of Chitin & Chitosan from Shrimp Shell

Scientists at Nofima are participating in a major EU-financed project in which “active” packaging based on raw materials from shrimp shell improves and conserves food products – and after use the packaging biodegrades. Environmentally stubborn plastic is getting competition from biodegradable packaging made of chitin and chitosan from shrimp shell.

Nofima’s part of the project equates to around NOK 1 million over a two-year period. Together with the coordinator, Italian company Mavi, the majority of the project involves four medium-sized companies in EU and three research centres.

“Our job is to ensure food contact safety in the project and quantify the effect on bacteria. Chitosan used as an integrated part of the packaging can have an antibacterial effect on the food products,” says Morten Sivertsvik, Director of Research at Nofima’s department for Processing Technology in Stavanger.

“The EU has strict regulations in this area, and our role is to see that the active packaging have a positive and not negative impact on the food products. The chitosan-based fibres that are used in the packaging are based on nanotechnology, so we are talking about minute particles that by no means have to break down so they come in the food products.”

Sivertsvik has worked on packaging technology at Nofima, Europe’s largest food research institute, since 1992.

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