In a major development, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, have developed cellulose nano crystals from cucumber peels, which have increased the possibilities of making environmental-friendly food packaging materials in the future.
Although most environmentally-conscious consumers are avoiding single-use plastics, such polymers are still in use as materials used for food packaging.
IIT Kharagpur said in a statement that the cellulose nano material developed by Professor Jayita Mitra and researcher N Sai Prasanna is from cucumber peels. They have successfully found an environmental-friendly alternative to food packaging materials.
Dr. Mitra, an assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture and Food Engineering, IIT Kharagpur, said, “After processing of cucumber peels or whole cucumbers, 12 percent of the waste is released as unrefined waste. We have used cellulose residue from this processed material. ”
He explained his discovery and said that our study shows the cellulose has nano crystals made from cucumbers and also has alternative characteristics.” This led to better bio-degradation and bio-optimization. ”
“These nano cellulose materials have emerged as strong, renewable, and economical materials because of their unique characteristics,” he said.
Further, Mitra said that over the years, the increasing addition of petroleum-based plastics in food packaging has become a source of environmental pollution.
The study also found that cucumber peels have more cellulose (18.22 percent) than other peels and this property makes it more practical.
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