Researchers at the Stockholm University in Sweden have developed pacakging from films of zeolite and nanocellulose, taht can remove the odor emanating from food items, such as durian.

The films have the potential to absorb the gas molecules contributing to the smell.

The material can also be used to keep odor from clothing at bay.

Researcher Lennart Bergström was quoted by Chemistry World as saying: “The new material relies on the well-established adsorption of small gas molecules by zeolites; the key novelty lies in the use of nanocellulose as a binder and matrix.

“By using nanocellulose as a matrix and binder, it is possible to prepare films with higher amounts of adsorbents [the zeolite] than before. The films are also thin, strong, light and flexible.”

The microporous nature of zeolites provide them adsorption properties. The new process introduces these microporous adsorbents into polymer films suitable for packaging.

Tthe films were made using colloidal processing by first composing two separate dispersions, zeolite particles with calcium ions and , polyethylene glycol (PEG) and cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs).

These were mixed together before being subjected to calcium-ion induced gelation and vacuum filtration that led to the production of gel. This was dried to obtain zeolite-CNF films with a very high zeolite content of not less than 90%.

Queen Mary University of London researcher Russell Binions said: “Using zeolites is a nice idea. Typically the vapor uptake will be determined by the relative partial pressure of whichever chemicals are kicking about in the headspace, so the fact that they show some kind of selective binding that prevents re-vaporisation of the nasty volatiles is a big plus and represents an important development.”

The films cannot be regenerated but can be reused multiple times before getting saturated.

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