Photo: Cristián Valdés Biochemist in charge of the project – FIA
Chilean researchers are working to create packaging containers for fruits for export to Europe and Asia using apple, pear, grape, peach and tomato waste. The initiative is promoted by the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA) and executed by the Universidad Católica del Maule, with support from the Foundation for Fruit Development (FDF) and San Jorge Packaging.
The biochemist in charge of the project, Cristián Valdés, said that the first stage of the process is to extract the nutrients from the residues of fruits and vegetables for the growth of a bacteria that produces the precursor of the bioplastic. The product “will be chemically treated in order to generate the material as such, to which antimicrobial properties will be added. Later, it will be transformed into biodegradable bags, shaping it by means of extrusion machines. Finally, the properties of the material will be optimised so that it is compatible with the packaging,” he said.
The project is in the first phase, related to the generation and optimization of the necessary conditions for the hydrolysis process of the different industrial wastes.