Glasgow, Scotland – Scientists at the University of Glasgow have developed a prototype of a system that may make packaged food safer, while increasing shelf life.
The new technology was developed by Dr. Declan Diver and Dr. Hugh Potts of the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. It involves temporarily turning some of the oxygen in a sealed package into ozone, which is an effective germicide.
According to an announcement released by the university, a retractable device is briefly held against the surface of the glass or plastic packaging in order to split the bonds between oxygen molecules inside it, forcing them to reform as ozone. The ozone naturally turns to its natural state after a few hours.
Testing of the method shows that it effectively and safely kills any mould, bacteria or fungi on the packaging’s content, while extending the product’s shelf life by at least one day. It does not alter the taste or appearance of the product, and requires no changes to existing packaging.
“Although ozone can be harmful to humans, it has a very limited lifespan before it returns to oxygen and it doesn’t leave behind any dangerous residues so it’s perfectly safe to use in food decontamination,” says Dr. Ian Muirhead, CEO of Anacail, the company set up to market the technology. “It’s a very effective way to destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses.”
Anacail is currently seeking development partners to enable it to bring the technology to full production.
Above: (Left to right) Dr Hugh Potts, Dr. Ian Muirhead and Dr. Declan Diver