Skip to main content
 

Nanotech Plastic Packaging Could Leach Silver Nanoparticles in Some Food and Beverages

Antimicrobial packaging is being developed to extend the shelf life and safety of foods and beverages. However, there is concern about the transfer of potentially harmful materials, such as silver nanoparticles, from these types of containers to consumables.

Now, researchers have found that silver embedded in an antimicrobial plastic can leave the material and form nanoparticles in foods and beverages, particularly in sweet and sugary ones.

Some polymers containing nanoparticles or nanocomposites can slow the growth of microorganisms responsible for food and beverage spoilage and foodborne illness. Although these polymers are not currently approved for use in packaging in the US, researchers are investigating various types of nanoparticle-embedded polymers that could be incorporated into containers in the future. Prior studies have shown that some of these polymers can leach nanoparticles, dissolved compounds and ions into water-based food simulants, but so far, little is known about how such packaging might interact with real foods and beverages. Some sugar compounds, which are typical food ingredients, can effectively convert silver ions into potentially harmful nanoparticles, and could then be ingested by humans.

Timothy Duncan from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, United States Food and Drug Administration, together with his colleagues wanted to see how the complex ingredients in sugary foods and beverages influenced the formation of these nanoparticles, both when directly exposed to dissolved silver and when they are stored inside silver-laced packaging.

For more information click here >>

Reference
1. Timothy V. Duncan et al. , ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces , 2021, 13, 1, 1398–1412
(https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.0c17867)