INRS Professor Monique Lacroix, specialist in sciences, applied to food. (Credit: Christian Fleury) (CNW Group/Institut National de la recherche scientifique (INRS))
Québec produces more strawberries than any other Canadian province. Strawberries are delicate and difficult to keep fresh. In response to this challenge, Monique Lacroix, a professor at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), and her team have developed a packaging film that can keep strawberries fresh for up to 12 days.
The innovative film is made of chitosan, a natural molecule found in shellfish shells. This food industry by-product contains key antifungal properties that curb mould growth. The packaging film also contains essential oils and nanoparticles, both of which possess antimicrobial properties.
Among other things, the packaging could be inserted into blotting paper the industry currently uses for strawberries.
This type of bioactive packaging also showed antimicrobial efficacy against the pathogens Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella Typhimurium, which come from contamination during food handling and are a major source of concern for the food industry.