Brazilian nanotechnology firm Nanox claims to have doubled the shelf life of fresh milk by incorporating silver-based nanoparticles into plastic milk bottles.
The shelf life of fresh whole milk increases from seven to 15 days when stored in a bottle made of polyethylene incorporating its silver-based microparticles, says São Paulo-based Nanox.
The shelf life of fresh whole milk kept in milk bags incorporating the technology increased from four to 10 days, it added.
“Doubling the shelf life of whole milk translates into significant benefits in terms of logistics, storage, quality and food safety,” said Luiz Pagatto Simões, CEO, Nanox.
The bactericidal and anti-microbial Nanox technology - a silica particle coated with silver nanoparticles - is already used in a number of products, including utensils, toilet seats and coatings for medical and dental instruments.
It also has Food Contact Substance (FCS) approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"We already knew use of our antimicrobial and bactericidal material in rigid or flexible plastic food packaging improves conservation and extends shelf life," said Simões.
"So we decided to test it in the polyethylene used to bottle Grade A fresh milk in Brazil."
To test its effectiveness, Nanox blended a its silver-based microparticle in powder form into a polyethylene preform.
"The result was that we more than doubled the product's shelf life solely by adding the material to the packaging, without mixing additives with the milk," Simões said.
Brazilian dairy Agrindus was first to pick up on Nanox's development. Dairies that distribute fresh milk in both rigid and flexible plastic packaging are currently testing the technology, Nanox said.
It now plans to market its silver-based microparticle technology in larger fresh milk drinking markets, such as Europe and the US.