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Cranfield University developing next generation food packaging to extend farm storage and reduce waste

Cranfield University developing next generation food packaging to extend farm storage and reduce waste

Cranfield University is collaborating with sustainable technologies leaders Johnson Matthey to extend the storage of fruit and vegetables on farms and to reduce waste.

This is through the development of innovative and cost-effective next generation modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) for prolonged storage and improved management of fresh produce throughout the supply chain.

The control of respiratory gases within a storage or packaging environment is often used to extend the postharvest storage and shelf-life of fresh fruit and vegetables, so reducing wastage in the supply chain.

Professor Leon Terry, Director of Environment and Agrifood at Cranfield University, said: “We can already extend the postharvest quality of fresh produce through current modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). Its performance is often limited, however, by an inability to respond to the changing physiology of the produce, leading to the development of suboptimal gas conditions. The packaging would benefit considerably if it is made flexible so that it responds to the changing physiology of the produce.”

Working with Johnson Matthey, Cranfield’s research will focus on developing the next generation of MAP by administering the ideal gaseous conditions at the optimum time for prolonged storage and improved management of produce.

The three-year project, which starts this October, has received more than a quarter of a million pounds (£275,733) from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

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