Haifa, Israel
Haifa, Israel

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Krepker M.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Shemesh R.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Shemesh R.,Carmel Olefins Ltd. | Danin Poleg Y.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | And 4 more authors.
Food Control | Year: 2017

High-quality polymer nanocomposites containing a synergistic antimicrobial combination of essential oils (carvacrol and thymol mixtures) are produced and their outstanding performance as an active packaging for hummus is demonstrated. The interactive properties of carvacrol and thymol against E. coli are studied in vitro, as the combination of these essential oils (EOs), which provides a synergistic antimicrobial action, is loaded into halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) for the first time. The latter nano-scale carriers minimize the loss of the highly volatile EOs during the high-temperature polymer processing, enabling melt compounding and subsequent film production on a semi-industrial scale. The resulting films exhibit a synergistic antimicrobial activity against E. coli, outperforming films containing the individual EOs by both potency and shelf life. The films are also integrated into real food packaging, and their effect on E. coli growth in inoculated hummus is studied. Bacterial growth is reduced by seven orders of magnitude, leading to their complete eradication, while the antimicrobial performance of the control films was significantly weaker. These results demonstrate the immense potential of these films as food packaging materials to efficiently control bacteria growth in complex food systems. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


NanoPack will demonstrate a solution for extending food shelf life by using novel smart antimicrobial surfaces, applied in active food packaging products. It will run pilot lines in operational industrial environments to manufacture commercially feasible antimicrobial polymer films, accepted by consumers. It will minimize the amount of preservatives required to maintain freshness, add value and assure safety to the entire supply chain. The project will employ natural Halloysite Nanotubes (HNTs) as reliable and safe carriers of bio-active compounds which are unable to migrate from the food packaging into food. Maximising safety, they slowly release minute amounts of potent, volatile and broad-spectrum natural agents into the packaging headspace. Using nanotechnology enables 1) introducing sensitive molecules into polymer films; 2) anti-microbial functionality without impaired film properties; 3) manufacturing potent antimicrobial surfaces with tunable properties, while creating a pH-triggered gate keeper effect to slow down release of the payload encapsulated. The resulting film will exhibit antimicrobial properties unmet by the current state-of-the-art. The processes across the supply chain will be validated through 5 pilot runs on existing production lines: 1) loading antimicrobials, 2) anti-microbial HNT polymer production, 3) anti-microbial packaging film production and 4-5) using the novel packaging on food products. Commercial feasibility will be assessed, including consumer acceptance and legal, regulatory, safety and environmental aspects. The success of NanoPack will result in validated consumer-accepted nanotechnology-based antimicrobial food packaging that will enhance food safety, prevent foodborne illness outbreaks and reduce food waste caused by early spoilage. Better performing, safer and smarter products will position Europe as the leader in food nanotechnology & smart antimicrobial packaging while increasing competitiveness and industry growth.


Naor H.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | Shuster M.,Carmel Olefins Ltd. | Avnir D.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology | Year: 2011

Methods for the synthesis of triple-hybrid (metal, organic polymer, ceramic component) submicron particles of silver @ (polymer@silica) spheres were developed. The polymer@silica element of the hybrid was obtained by the entrapment of an organic polymer in silica, synthesized from its precursor monomers-tetraethoxysilane or sodium silicate-within O/W or W/O emulsion droplets, stabilized by a selected surfactant. This general method was developed for hydrophobic (polyethylene, PE), hydrophilic (polyethylene glycol, PEG) and amphiphilic (PE-b-PEG) polymers. The silver component, prepared from its salt, was incorporated by several methods, either simultaneously with the above polymer entrapment, or step-wise. Full characterization of these hybrids and proof of their triple nature is provided, including its pronounced antibacterial activity. The use of these particles as functional fillers for polypropylene fibers is demonstrated. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Shemesh R.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Shemesh R.,Carmel Olefins Ltd. | Krepker M.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Nitzan N.,D.S. Smith Plastics StePac L.A. | And 2 more authors.
Postharvest Biology and Technology | Year: 2016

Roughly, one-third of the food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted. These losses occur at all stages of the food value chain and across all types of food. Active packaging already plays a vital role in preventing wastage and further innovation is imperative to streamlining the food supply chain. Herein, we present an antimicrobial packaging based on polyamide (Nylon 6), containing a model essential oil (carvacrol). The volatile carvacrol molecules are encapsulated with Halloysite nanotubes (HNTs), which are naturally occurring aluminosilicate. The resulting polyamide films had an outstanding in vitro antifungal properties, with a broad spectrum of inhibitory activity against a wide range of fungal molds: Alternaria alternata, Botrytis cinerea, Penicillium digitatum, Penicillium expansum and Aspergillus niger. Furthermore, the active polyamide-based plastic bags were used for fresh produce packaging and their fungicidal and/or fungistatic effects on postharvest pathogens of cherry tomatoes, lychee and grapes were investigated. These in vivo experiments have resulted in reduced decay development and significantly extended shelf life. The presented technology holds a great potential for the development of custom-made active packaging for the food and postharvest industries, in a global effort to reduce food loss and waste. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Shemesh R.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Shemesh R.,Carmel Olefins Ltd. | Krepker M.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Goldman D.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | And 5 more authors.
Polymers for Advanced Technologies | Year: 2015

Active antimicrobial packaging is a promising form of active packaging that can kill or inhibit microorganism growth in order to maintain product quality and safety. One of the most common approaches is based on the release of volatile antimicrobial agents from the packaging material such as essential oils. Due to their highly volatile nature, the challenge is to preserve the essential oils during the high-temperature melt processing of the polymer, while maintaining high antimicrobial activity for a desired shelf life. This study suggests a new approach in order to achieve this goal. Antimicrobial active films are developed based on low-density polyethylene (LDPE), organo-modified montmorillonite clays (MMT) and carvacrol (used as an essential oil model). In order to minimize carvacrol loss throughout the polymer compounding, a pre-compounding step is developed in which clay/carvacrol hybrids are produced. The hybrids exhibit a significant increase in the d-spacing of clay and enhanced thermal stability. The resulting LDPE/(clay/carvacrol) films exhibit superior and prolonged antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli and Listeria innocua, while polymer compounded with pure carvacrol loses the antibacterial properties within days. The films also present an excellent antifungal activity against Alternaria alternata, used as a model plant pathogenic fungus. Furthermore, infrared spectroscopy analysis of the LDPE/(clay/carvacrol) system displayed significantly higher carvacrol content in the film as well as a slower out-diffusion of the carvacrol molecules in comparison to LDPE/carvacrol films. Thus, these new films have a high potential for antimicrobial food packaging applications due to their long-lasting and broad-spectrum antimicrobial efficacy. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Shemesh R.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Shemesh R.,Carmel Olefins Ltd. | Goldman D.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Krepker M.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Applied Polymer Science | Year: 2015

Over the past decade there is an immense effort to develop antimicrobial packaging systems, which incorporates natural biopreservatives, such as essential oils (EOs). The highly volatile nature of EOs, which is advantageous for their efficient diffusion and mode of action, presents a major obstacle for their incorporation with polyolefins via conventional high-temperature melt compounding and processing. This study presents a new approach to use organo-modified montmorillonite (MMT) clays, as active carriers for carvacrol (used as a model EO), aiming to minimize its loss throughout the polymer compounding. Different MMT clays are pretreated with carvacrol, resulting in the oil molecules intercalation in between the clay galleries and enhanced carvacrol thermal stability. These hybrids are incorporated within low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and the resulting films are characterized in terms of their nanostructure, thermal properties, and antimicrobial activity. The LDPE/(clay/carvacrol) nanocomposites exhibit excellent and prolonged antimicrobial activity against E. coli bacteria, while LDPE/carvacrol films loss their antimicrobial functions within several days. The superior antimicrobial behavior is ascribed to the significantly higher carvacrol content and its enhanced thermal stability within the films. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Shemesh R.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Shemesh R.,Carmel Olefins Ltd. | Krepker M.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Natan M.,Bar - Ilan University | And 6 more authors.
RSC Advances | Year: 2015

The emergence of antibiotic resistance of pathogenic bacteria has led to renewed interest in exploring the potential of plant-derived antimicrobials e.g., essential oils (EOs), as an alternative strategy to reduce microbial contamination. However, the volatile nature of EOs presents a major challenge in their incorporation into polymers by conventional higherature processing techniques. Herein, we employ halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) as efficient nano-carriers for carvacrol (a model EO). This pre-compounding encapsulation step imparts enhanced thermal stability to the carvacrol, allowing for its subsequent melt compounding with low-density polyethylene (LDPE). The resulting polymer nanocomposites exhibit outstanding antimicrobial properties with a broad spectrum of inhibitory activity against Escherichia coli, Listeria innocua in biofilms, and Alternaria alternata. Their antimicrobial effectiveness is also successfully demonstrated in complex model food systems (soft cheese and bread). This superior activity, compared to other studied carvacrol containing films, is induced by the significantly higher carvacrol content in the film as well as its slower out-diffusion from the hybrid system. Thus, these new active polymer nanocomposites presents an immense potential in controlling microbial contamination and biofilm related adverse effects, rendering them as excellent candidate materials for a wide range of applications. © 2015 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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