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Transparent and high barrier biodegradable film and sheet for customized Modified Atmosphere food Packaging (BIO4MAP)
Start date: Nov 1, 2013, End date: Apr 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This research proposal deals with the development of innovative fully biodegradable and recyclable, multilayer flexible and transparent structure for fresh pasta and different types of cheese that requires customized Modified Atmosphere (MAP) by combining at least two different biodegradable thermoplastic materials, mainly polylactic acid (PLA) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH). In order to increase/reinforce the barrier against moisture, a biodegradable coating based on natural waxes will cover the inner layer of the multilayer structure. The natural waxes will be extracted from urban sources as well as residues from agriculture.Furthermore, the differences of permeability between traditional plastic packaging materials (polyolefins, EVOH, polyamides) and BIO4MAP’s proposed ones (PLA and PVOH), require optimization and adjustment of the current combination of gases used to obtain fully biodegradable packages that give similar shelf-life for the food products studied.BIO4MAP project aims to achieve the following structure by using: Co-extrusion and coating process: PLA/tie/ PVOH/tie/ PLA/coatingTo perform the semi-rigid structure, new biodegradable thermoplastic tie-layer (for co-extrusion) will be developed based on the modifications of PLA and PVOH or their copolymers. The biodegradable sheet will be covered by a natural wax based coating, to improve the water vapour permeability of the structure. Moreover, the barrier of the developed packaging needs to be specifically adapted to the modified atmosphere required by the different products (fresh pasta and cheese).BIO4MAP offers low environmental impact solutions: 1) The new packages will allow the easy recyclability of PLA due to the effortless separation between PVOH and the PLA (PVOH is soluble in water), 2) the new packages will be full compostable in conditions according to the standard UNE-EN 13432 and 3) use of agricultural waste (leaves, greenery) as a raw material source for wax based coating production
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