The project developed at the Spanish Superior Center for Scientific Research and the University of Malaga, aims to exploit the viscoelastic properties, impermeability to water and protection against other liquids as well as the incidence of parasites, which naturally has the outer part of tomatoes.
A discovery that could also be extended to other vegetables in principle, such as bell peppers.
However, scientists have prioritized tomatoes, particularly because the industry often neglects the peel, which has no other use, after peeling tomatoes for canning.
This is explained by the newspaper La Vanguardia de España, which refers to the work of the professor of Biochemistry Antonio Heredia, and the scientist José Jesús Benítez, co-authors of the research who have worked with vegetable cutins of different kinds until reaching this discovery that they have patented.
Minimal environmental impact and biodegradability
The most notable characteristics of the development from the environmental point of view, is in the minimum impact that this use generates, in addition to that the plastics produced are biodegradable in the short term.
Through an in vitro depolymerization process, the original polymer of the tomato degrades into its monomers, and is polymerized again through chemical reactions to obtain a "plastic" that maintains the initial properties of the vegetable peel, but that adjusts to conditions of size or thickness that are of interest to users.
At the industrial application level, the tests are mainly aimed at coating aluminum cans containing beverages, using imperceptible nanolayers in some cases.
Petroleum derivatives are currently used to prevent beverages from coming into contact with the aluminum in the containers: some of these components are prohibited to be used in products intended for children, which would be solved with the new alternative.
The Epoch Times