What if you could have your packaging and eat it too? We’ve seen rice paper packaging on Japanese candies, but edible plastic? Thanks to researchers at the USDA, it’s not too far in the future. And it’s not just an edible and environmentally-friendly plastic alternative; it’s actually better at keeping food fresh than petroleum-based plastics. It’ll be a few years before you see the material on shelves, but it represents a big revolution in the way we view food packaging. Researchers are using casein, a protein found in milk, to make a flexible and very strong film, and they’re calling it “casein-based film.” There’s another food-based ingredient, too. Citrus pectin helps the material stay strong and flexible without dissolving. And for all you vegans out there who aren’t thrilled at the thought of replacing petroleum, with animal products, researchers are working on making synthetic casein by cloning the necessary DNA and harnessing fermented yeast to produce it.
From Care2 Photo Credit John Vlahakis