Quick-Making Hydrogel Films with Arbutin to Keep Cherry Tomatoes Fresher Longer

Jim Crocker
8th June, 2024

Quick-Making Hydrogel Films with Arbutin to Keep Cherry Tomatoes Fresher Longer

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers from Central South University and Xinjiang Medical University developed a biodegradable plastic wrap to preserve fruits and vegetables and reduce environmental impact
  • The wrap, made from κ-carrageenan, carboxymethyl chitosan, arbutin, and kaolin clay, forms quickly on fruit surfaces and conforms to their shapes
  • The addition of kaolin clay improves the wrap's water resistance, oxygen barrier, and tensile strength, enhancing its preservation capabilities
Food waste and the reliance on petroleum-based packaging materials are significant issues in today's society. A recent study by researchers from Central South University and Xinjiang Medical University[1] proposes a promising solution through the development of a biodegradable functional plastic wrap. This innovative wrap is designed to preserve perishable fruits and vegetables while reducing environmental impact. The study introduces a composite film made from κ-carrageenan, carboxymethyl chitosan, arbutin, and kaolin clay. This film can be rapidly formed in situ on the surfaces of perishable fruits, conforming to their unique shapes. Kaolin clay, a critical component of this composite, significantly improves the film's properties by reducing water vapor and oxygen permeability, which enhances water resistance. The tensile strength of the film also increases notably from 20.60 MPa to 34.71 MPa with the addition of kaolin clay. The effectiveness of this composite film was demonstrated with cherry tomatoes, which were preserved for nine days at 28°C. The film delayed fruit ripening, reduced respiration and dehydration, and protected against microbial invasion. This result is particularly impressive given the perishable nature of cherry tomatoes. This study builds on previous research in the field of food preservation and biodegradable packaging. For instance, earlier work demonstrated the use of phytochemical-encapsulated nanoparticles in edible coatings to enhance nutrient delivery and preserve perishable foods[2]. This approach showed potential in extending the shelf life of strawberries by preventing dehydration, nutrient loss, and microbial growth. Similarly, another study highlighted the use of water-soluble polysaccharides extracted from macroalgae for preserving cherry tomatoes, showing a significant improvement in preservation effectiveness[3]. The current study expands on these findings by integrating the benefits of biodegradable coatings and enhanced material properties through the inclusion of kaolin clay. This combination not only improves the mechanical strength and barrier properties of the film but also ensures a more sustainable approach compared to traditional petroleum-based packaging. Moreover, the economic viability of the raw materials and the straightforward preparation method make this composite film a practical solution for widespread application. This aspect is crucial for addressing the dual challenges of food waste and environmental sustainability. In summary, the development of the κ-carrageenan/carboxymethyl chitosan/arbutin/kaolin clay composite film presents a significant advancement in the field of food preservation and biodegradable packaging. By leveraging the strengths of previous research and introducing new material enhancements, this study offers a viable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional packaging methods.

AgricultureBiotechPlant Science


Main Study

1) Rapid in situ formation of κ-carrageenan-carboxymethyl chitosan-kaolin clay hydrogel films enriched with arbutin for enhanced preservation of cherry tomatoes.

Published 5th June, 2024


Related Studies

2) Development of Multifunctional Nanoencapsulated trans-Resveratrol/Chitosan Nutraceutical Edible Coating for Strawberry Preservation.


3) Application of polysaccharide-rich solution derived from waste macroalgae Enteromorpha prolifera in cherry tomato preservation and utilizing post-extraction residue for crude bio-oil production.


Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙