Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID)

Packaging materials made from fruit juice wastewaters will extend the shelf life of fruit juices

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Packaging materials made from fruit juice wastewaters will extend the shelf life of fruit juices
An EU-funded project aims to improve resource efficiency in the fruit juice sector by developing novel and functional bioplastics from processing wastewater
In Development – The research project runs from June 2012 to December 2015, although some results will be disseminated before the end date.

Benefits
Resource efficiency (e.g. filling line efficiency), Shelf life extension, Water Usage

Product Categories
Drinks

Relevant Materials
Other (e.g. soluble sachets )

Relevant Packaging Formats
Bottles and jars

Supply Chain Phase
Processing, Raw materials / Ingredients

Details

PHBottle is a 3.5 year R&D Project funded by EC's Seventh Framework Programme that seeks to develop a novel bioplastic for juice packaging using materials extracted from the wastewater generated during fruit juice processing.

The project budget of Euro3.5million is shared between a consortium of 8 companies and 4 research centres drawn from European Member States and South America.

The fruit processing sector creates over 34 billion gallons of wastewater annually as a result of washing produce and the cleaning of equipment and facilities. This water contains huge quantities of organic waste in the form of sugars, which have potential as a valuable raw material for the production of bioplastics. The aim of the work is to deliver novel packaging which is biodegradable and incorporates antioxidant barrier technology to enhance the shelf life of juices.

The project will be delivered in three phases. Phase one will focus on targeting micro-organisms that are capable of converting organic residues from wastewater into a biodegradable polymeric material PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate).
 
During the second stage the research team will work to improve barrier properties through the inclusion of cellulose fibres and ingredients encapsulated with antioxidant properties into the base structure. The aim of this phase is to lengthen the shelf life of the product.
 
The third phase will seek to mould the material and to use it to produce packaging. This will also involve validation and testing of containers by filling them with juice from the same industry that generated the wastewaters to begin with.
A life cycle assessment will determine the environmental impact of the packaging across its life cycle. If successful, then applications for the material could be expanded to include other food applications, pharmaceuticals and automotive sectors.
 
The content in this entry has been obtained from publicly available information sources only (e.g. press releases, website and trade press articles) and is subject to completion of a validation process with the technology supplier.

Potential Benefits

The project aims to solve the challenges related with the disposal of wastewater from fruit processing and to provide processors with a new source of income. It will also seek to provide a new offering of both cost effective and high performance biodegradable packaging solutions with low environmental impact and high performance and functionality to extend the shelf life of packed goods.

Intellectual Property

The project is funded by the European Commission so key findings will be disseminated widely, but it is likely that any specific technology breakthroughs will be subject to patent applications and appropriate intellectual property protection agreements between the project research partners.

Consultant View

This project demonstrates that significant opportunities exist to turn food production waste streams into useful by-products. All food and beverage manufacturers should be encouraged by this research to look at their own waste streams and to seek opportunities to recover value from these.

Contacts and Further Information

Project Co-ordinator:
ainia centro tecnologico
Parque tecnológico de Valencia
c/ Benjamin Franklin, 5-11
E46980 Paterna
Spain
Tel: 96 136 60 90
Email: informacion@ainia.es

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