A new food packaging material that has the ability to preserve food by fighting the bacteria that cause spoilage has been developed by scientists.
The 'killer paper' contains a coating of silver nanoparticles that kills E. coli and S. aureus, two causes of bacterial food poisoning, in just three hours.
This suggests its potential application as a food packaging material for longer shelf life.
Aharon Gedanken and colleagues note that silver already finds wide use as a bacteria fighter in certain medicinal ointments, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and even odor-resistant socks.
Until now, scientists were unable to deposit the particles of silver - each 1/50,000 the width of a human hair - onto paper. The new method involves the use of ultrasound, or high-frequency sound waves, to deposit the particles on paper.
The 'killer paper' could also provide an alternative to common food preservation methods such as radiation, heat treatment, and low temperature storage, the researchers noted.
The finding has been described in ACS' journal Langmuir.