Holfeld to develop antimicrobial packs made from orange pith

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Holfeld to develop antimicrobial packs made from orange pith

January 14
10:54 2013

Holfeld Plastics has linked up with Citrox Bio-Sciences to develop antimicrobial packaging made from orange pith, to help prevent food waste and promote food safety

Ireland-based rigid plastics firm Holfeld has been working with the research and development company on a trial to supply packaging based on bioflavonoids sourced from Spanish bitter oranges to help extend product shelf life and fight food waste.

The project is part funded through the European Commission and is called Ecopeat. The project will last for two years and the companies are currently six months through it.

Reducing food waste

Speaking to PN, Holfeld research and development manager Pat Ward said that the project could potentially solve the problem of food waste. The news came as the issue of food waste was highlighted in yesterday’s report from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

The oranges used in the trial are normally used for flavourings and colourings. However, the company realised that the pith [porous white tissue in the orange] was not being used.

Ward said that the firms were working on developing a plant extract based on bioflavonoids with antimicrobial antioxidant properties.


The formulation has been used in products such as antibacterial wipes and gels but not for food-contact packs, according to Ward.

Ward explained that the pack could potentially help the poultry industry, as scientific studies have found that some poultry in supermarkets have high levels of bacteria.

Holfeld has conducted trials with packaging for chicken in Citrox-coated trays and found that it neutralises the chicken juices. Ward said that the chemicals can be integrated into plastics and the absorbent part of the pads.

According to the firm, this potentially results in’5 log’ reductions in the numbers of bacteria such as e-coli, salmonella and campylobacter.

The use is exclusive to Holfeld which has an exclusive licence to use Citrox in packaging applications.

Ward said that the packs could potentially increase shelf-life as well. The product is still under development.

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