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A team of scientists from NTU Singapore and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, US, has developed a ‘smart’ food packaging material that is biodegradable, sustainable and kills microbes that are harmful to humans. It could also extend the shelf-life of fresh fruit by two to three days.

The natural food packaging is made from a type of corn protein called zein, starch and other naturally derived biopolymers, infused with a cocktail of natural antimicrobial compounds (see video). These include oil from thyme, a common herb used in cooking, and citric acid, which is commonly found in citrus fruits.

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