A US scientist has used corn residues to develop a novel packaging film that could destroy Listeria monocytogene, a rod-shaped bacterium that causes food poisoning in animals and humans.
Tony Jin at the US Department of Agriculture in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, has created a biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) film, from renewable materials such as corn residues.
According to Jin, the film, which contains a natural antimicrobial agent called nisin, can stamp out Listeria and other food-borne bugs.
To test the film, Jin spiked orange juice and egg whites with Listeria, E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enteriditis, and placed them on the film.
The experiment showed that the corn-based film killed significant numbers of bacteria.
Jin said that he plans to make a nisin/PLA film for wrapping meats and a liner to coat the insides of drinks containers.
He further revealed that he is also testing another film made from nisin and pectin, better known for thickening jams and jellies.
Listeria monocytogenes causes Listeriosis, a rare bacterial infection that occurs primarily in newborn infants, elderly patients, and patients who are immunocompromised.
The study is published in the Journal of Food Science.