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Oxygen-scavengers for packaging materials

Technology uses clay with active iron


VALENCIA: NanoBioMatters, a Spanish supplier of organoclay additives, has developed a series of oxygen-scavenging additives for food and pharmaceutical packaging.

The O2Block additive extends the shelf life for packaging made of high-density polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and polylactide.

The patent-pending technology uses surface-modified phyllosilicate clay that is functionalized with active iron. The clay acts as a carrier of the oxygen-scavenging iron, which is dispersed in the polymer during the production process.

Several food companies are testing developmental grades and NanoBioMatters expects commercialization by early 2011.

Oxygen migrates through the packaging material and reacts with the iron from the O2Block additive, producing iron oxide, which is linked inside the packaging.

The oxygen scavenger is supplied as a micronized powder or a masterbatch. The amount of active iron controls scavenging capacity. Dosing is tailored by adjusting the masterbatch loading and/or active clay content. The oxygen scavenger can be used in loadings of one to 10 per cent.

It can also be used with the O2Block solution for EVOH multilayer barrier films, reducing oxygen transmission rate (OTR) by up to 50 per cent, according to the company.

The company is also exploring new antioxidants—the O2Block RS-R series of radical scavengers with plant extract as the active ingredient.