IIT Kharagpur researchers develop cellulose nano-crystals from cucumber peels for food packaging

    Kolkata, Nov 18 (PTI) Researchers at IIT Kharagpur
have developed cellulose nano-crystals from cucumber peels,
raising the possibility to create environment-friendly food
packaging materials in future.
    While single-use plastic is being mostly avoided by
environmentally conscious consumers, but such type of polymers
still remain in circulation as food packaging items.
    The cellulose nano-material developed from raw
cucumber waste by Professor Jayeeta Mitra and research scholar
N Sai Prasanna at IIT Kharagpur has addressed this challenge
of finding an environment-friendly substitute to food
packaging materials, an institute statement said on Tuesday.
    "Cucumbers generate about 12 per cent residual wastes
after processing either the peels or whole slices as waste. We
have used the cellulose extract from this processed material,
Dr Mitra, an Assistant Professor of IIT Kharagpur at the
Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering said.
    Speaking about the findings, she explained "our study
shows that cellulose nanocrystals derived from cucumber peels
possess modifiable properties This resulted in better bio-
degradability and bio-compatibility."
    "These nanocellulose materials emerged as strong,
renewable and economical material due to their unique
properties," she said.
    Mitra said the rise in use of petroleum-based plastics
in food packaging for years has become the source of
environmental pollution.
    The study also found that cucumber peels possessed
greater cellulose content (18.22 per cent) than other peel
wastes making it more viable.
    The researchers are optimistic about its scope in
various fields like paper making, coating additives, bio-
composites, optically transparent films.
    "More research and product development focussed on
various bio-polymers would help people become more aware about
the sector and how it can provide alternative bio-friendly
products at economic prices," Mitra said. PTI SUS

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)