Metrolab Blog

Active packaging and the use of agro-industrial waste – Learn more about the role of OXITEST!

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It is no secret that packaging plays a central role in influencing consumer purchasing decisions, but even more essential is its importance in determining the preservation of a food product and thus its shelf-life.
In addition to the best-known preservation methods, one hears more and more often about active packaging. This term refers to a type of packaging with an ‘active’ role in food preservation, thus increasing the effectiveness of the packaging itself and its protective function towards the food, not only containing and protecting it but actively contributing to the extension of its shelf-life.
There are various techniques to make packaging active: adding active substances to the packaging material is one of them.

Valorisation of agro-industrial by-products for the development of active packaging: an analysis with the VELP OXITEST reactor
The agro-industrial sector produces a large amount of waste with a high environmental impact. However, these are often rich in bioactive molecules that can play a key role in the preservation of new products.
In the study “Valorization of agro-industrial byproducts: Extraction and analytical characterization of valuable compounds for potential edible active packaging formulation“, carried out with the University of Parma and CIPACK, and recently published in the journal Food Packaging and Shelf-life, bioactive compounds were extracted from onion, artichoke and thistle by-products.
A series of chromatographic analyses allowed the presence of antioxidants and prebiotics to be detected in them, and the VELP OXITEST reactor was used to evaluate the effects of adding these extracts to oil samples.
The results showed that such extracts can counteract the deterioration of food products and increase the oxidative stability of fats and oils contained in them. For this reason, they can be used in the production of active films to be offered as packaging.

How to contribute to the advancement of food packaging
Active packaging
involves packaging food with materials that provide enhanced functionality, such as antioxidant functions.
Active food packaging aims to extend the shelf-life of products and this can be achieved by incorporating active compounds into the matrix of the packaging materials used.
The OXITEST reactor makes it possible to identify the packaging that best preserves the freshness of a product and can therefore be used in the development of active packaging that can preserve the organoleptic properties, aroma and nutrients of the food for longer.