Self-assembling polymer/clay nanocomposites applied to fruit for shelf life extension
In previous work Texas State University team members discovered a self-assembling nanocomposite formed between polyvinylpyrrolidone and montmorillonite clay that exhibits high gas barrier properties. This self assembling phenomena has been extended to other polymers including polyvinyl alcohol, polyethylene oxide, and gum Arabic. It has additionally been demonstrated that coating fruits and vegetables with this self-assembling system extends the shelf life three fold ( figure 1). It appears that the shelf life extension is due to two factors. First the coating slows the egress of water and secondly the ingress of oxygen is drastically reduced. A patent has been applied for on this technology.