Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID)

Insert for extending the shelf life of packaged food

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Insert for extending the shelf life of packaged food
Living mycelium tablet could extend shelf life of packaged food, especially fruit and vegetables.
In Development – The patent application cites the results of tests to demonstrate shelf life achievements, but the solution is not yet commercially available.

Product Waste Reduction, Shelf life extension

Product Categories

Relevant Materials
Not Applicable

Relevant Packaging Formats
Not Applicable

Supply Chain Phase


This innovation entails placing a living mycelium tablet encased in a perforated film into existing food packaging to control concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus. The insert can be manufactured by loosely pressing a suitable, sterile substrate into a tablet form. This can then be inoculated with an appropriate edible filamntous fungi (such as Enokitake mushroom) that is able to cope in temperatures down to 2C, continuing to respire through the refrigerated supply chain. In doing so, oxygen is removed from the package whilst carbon dioxide is generated. This inhibits the rate of respiration of the fruit and vegetables, keeping them fresher for longer. Reducing the oxygen concentration below 8% and/or elevating carbon dioxide levels above 10% also retards the ripening of fruit as it delays the effects of ethylene gas. After the packaging has been opened it can be resealed and the insert will continue to adjust to the levels of carbon dioxide.
The tablet is encased in a film to prevent moisture loss, which would cause the rate of respiration of the mycelium to decrease. The film also prevents any potential product contamination if the tablet were to break up.
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 patent application for this innovation claims that the shelf life of fruit and vegetables can be extended by at least two days compared to stadard packaging. Improved shelf life can help to reduce food waste arising in the supply chain and in the home.

The solution is also much more accessible than alternative solutions such as modified atmosphere packaging. These require additional machinery to alter and seal in the modified atmosphere, which is then lost as soon as the pack is opened.

Intellectual Property

A patent application applies to this technology.

Consultant View

There are also other approaches and technologies available which also seek to extend the shelf life of fresh produce. Readers interested in alternative approaches should make further searchers of the REID database using combinations of filters and terms such as “fruit and veg”, “shelf life extension”, “active packaging”, “modified atmosphere”, “controlled atmosphere”, “antimicrobial” and “scavengers”.

Contacts and Further Information

Oliver Poyntz
6 Hazlewell Road
SW15 6LH
Tel: +44 (0)776 681 5046

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