Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Secret Recipe To Making Food Packaging You Can Eat



If you look at the structure of an orange or a coconut, you generally have a skin that maintains moisture and an outer coat that protects that skin. In the case of a coconut, it's the shell; with an orange it's the peel.

Like the coconut or orange, the WikiCell, an edible form of packaging invented by Harvard professor David Edwards, provides a double layer of protection around the liquid, foam or solid it holds.    

See the WikiCells > 

You can think of the first layer, a soft skin, like a raisin skin. It's made of three main components: tiny natural food particles, like chocolate, fruit, nuts or seeds; a nutritive ion-like calcium; and a natural molecule like chitosan (which comes from the body) or alginate (which comes from algae).  

When you mix these three things together they form an electrostatic gel that keeps water inside the food or drink. 

The second layer, a protective shell around the skin, is like the egg-carton packaging. Depending on the kind of WikiCell and how it reaches the consumer, that shell may be completely edible (in which case you would wash it like an apple) or completely biodegradable (in which which case you can peel it off and throw it away). 

The edible shell would be made of isomalt (a kind of sweetener) and the biodegradable shell would be made of baggase (what remains when you remove sugar from sugar cane) or tapioca.  

WikiCells are edible containers of food or drink. A soft membrane holds the liquid, foam or solid inside! .

The WikiCell balls are placed in edible or non-edible, biodegrable shells, which replace the outer, cardboard packaging that most food products come in.

Liquid WikiCells are consumed in a variety of ways. One is that the liquid may be in a grape form so you just toss it in your mouth. You might have a larger "orange" form and use a straw. You might design the WikiCell in a sort of "pear" form, shown here, and then eat the tip of it and drink the inside.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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