MANILA – The Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has developed a packaging that could help prolong raw food's shelf life.

"It's a chitosan-based antioxidant film (that the ITDI) developed using chitosan powder. This powder can be extracted from different sources such as crabs, prawns, etc.," ITDI Director Anabelle Briones told the Philippine News Agency on Wednesday.

Briones said chitosan powder is an effective raw material for biodegradable packaging. It functions as antimicrobial and antibacterial although it has a low antioxidant property.

The ITDI, she said, mixed the spent ground coffee extract (SGCE) into the chitosan solution to extend its antioxidant capability. "Through (mixing these), the ITDI was able to develop what we call an 'active packaging' or antioxidant packaging. It is called 'active' or 'antioxidant' because of the active compounds or ingredients from SGCE," Briones explained.

Briones said the SGCE is an extract from ground coffee and is normally thrown by coffee shops after brewing.

"Since coffee is rich in antioxidants, it was discovered that even those that people normally throw after brewing still contain antioxidants when extracted," she said.

The chitosan-based antioxidant film can be used as packaging for foods that are prone to lipid oxidation like meat.

"Because the packaging film has antioxidant properties, it could delay food spoilage, and also prolong the shelf life of meat and other raw foods," Briones said.

In a taped report, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said mild hydrothermal extraction of brewed coffee was considered because it is cheap and easy to prepare.

"The addition of various percentages of SGCE into the chitosan (solution) increased the antioxidant capacity of the film by up to 17 percent," he said, adding that the antioxidant chitosan-based film is biodegradable, and disintegration was apparent after 30 days of storage.

De la Peña said this packaging could be used for foods and other commodities sensitive to lipid and photo-oxidation, and could also serve as an alternative to single-use plastics. (PNA)