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The Role of Biomaterials in Reducing Food Waste

Food and Beverages | Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Biomaterials are substances created to adopt a shape that, alone or as part of a complex system, is utilized to guide the course of any therapeutic or diagnostic operation in human or veterinary medicine by controlling interactions with components of biological systems.

Fremont, CA: A variety of measures are getting attempted to address the issue of food waste. Some of them are technological to generate more food with much less inputs (water and agrochemicals) and reduce food waste from farm to fork.

Precision agriculture, wherein nanotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI) paired with robots, geolocalization, smart sensors, and big data analysis, might hold the key to solving the global food security crisis, is particularly intriguing.

Biomaterials are typically defined as a substance that has been created to adopt a shape that, alone or as part of a complex system, is utilized to guide the course of any therapeutic or diagnostic operation in human or veterinary medicine by controlling interactions with components of biological systems.

Numerous research projects have already demonstrated the ability to engineer biomaterials into advanced formats, particularly those that are sustainable and have a circular life cycle, such as structural biopolymers, to benefit a wide range of agricultural and food industry practices, including seed enhancement, precision payload delivery in plants, perishable food preservation, & food spoilage detection. They present and analyze biomaterial design concepts, developing micro-/nanofabrication technologies, and the benefits and drawbacks of various delivery, protection, and sensing platforms in each part.

Seed enhancement technology

This section addresses various recent breakthroughs in modifying the seed microenvironment using biomaterials through seed priming and seed coating, as well as the use of nanotechnology and nanofabrication in seed improvement technologies (for instance, for nanofiber-based seed enhancement).

Developing improved seed coverings that combine biodegradation with encapsulation, preservation, and sustained release of payloads (especially plant growth-promoting microorganisms) to the seeds and their rhizosphere achieves enhancement.

Plants receive precise multi-scale payload delivery.

Precision delivery of agrochemicals to selected plant tissues and organelles using microneedle- and nanoparticle-based platforms that meet plant demands while avoiding runoff and environmental side effects are critical in agriculture to ensure high crop yields minimizing environmental harm consequences.

Food preservation coatings that are edible.

This section deconstructs the most often used food coating components – polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and composites – explains their benefits and drawbacks and explores their uses in diverse food systems.

The early degradation of perishable goods accounts for major food waste. For example, many fruits and vegetables have a minimal shelf life after harvest due to intense metabolic activity and significant microbial/fungal contamination. Traditional therapies such as cryopreservation, subjection to chemical fungicides, the inclusion of synthetic preservatives, changed environment packing, and osmotic treatments, among others, have proven beneficial in extending the shelf life of perishable food.

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