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Film coatings made from whey
Date:1/9/2012

From pre-packed Camembert to shrink-wrapped meat loaf choosing the right packaging is a key issue in the food industry. Companies need to protect food products from oxygen, moisture and chemical and biological contamination while keeping them fresh for as long as possible. Transparent multilayer films, in which each layer offers specific benefits, are frequently used to protect food from contamination. To minimize the amount of oxygen that penetrates the packaging, companies typically use expensive, petrochemical-based polymers such as ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) copolymers as barrier materials. The German Society for Packaging Market Research (Gesellschaft fr Verpackungsmarktforschung mbH) estimates that more than 640 square kilometers of composite materials employing EVOH as an oxygen barrier layer will be produced and used in Germany in 2014 enough to completely cover Lake Constance. There is therefore a strong impetus to develop a sustainable packaging material which is both economical to produce and environmentally friendly. Researchers working on the EU's "Wheylayer" project have been using whey protein instead of petrochemical-based polymers. The natural ingredients in the whey extend the shelf life of food products, and the whey protein layer is biodegradable. The results of the research are promising. "We've managed to develop a whey protein formulation that can be used as the raw material for a film barrier layer. And we have also developed an economically viable process which can be used to produce the multifunctional films on an industrial scale," says Markus Schmid from the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising.

But how is it even possible to make a barrier layer from whey? The researchers from the IVV began by purifying sweet whey and sour whey and producing high purity whey protein isolates. They tested a range of different modification methods in order to obtain suitable proteins with outstan
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Contact: Klaus Noller
klaus.noller@ivv.fraunhofer.de
49-816-149-1500
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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Film coatings made from whey
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