In order to better understand aspects related to the transport of fruit and vegetable products in more sustainable materials, the Center for Agri-Food Research and Technology of Aragon (CITA) is monitoring the environmental conditions surrounding the goods in both national and international transport. This information will help to develop optimal bio-based packaging for these conditions, to which these materials are particularly sensitive.
Within the national project “Improvement of protein-based packaging for the preservation of fruit and vegetables in pre-prepared convenience food. 3PACK”, led by Jaime González Buesa, researcher at the Horticulture Unit of CITA, several tests have been carried out in recent months with temperature sensors, humidity, position, etc. in national (Zaragoza-Seville) and international (sea container from Zaragoza to Israel) transport with the collaboration of the company Frutas Aguilar in the town of Ateca, Zaragoza.
The first results indicate that environmental conditions during transport, especially in long distances, can affect gas exchange in biobased materials, since they are very sensitive to temperature and humidity. Therefore, the atmosphere developed in a biobased package, which is essential for the proper preservation of certain food products, may be affected during transport and marketing.
All this information collected will be useful in the development of models that allow more accurate prediction of the evolution of the gaseous composition inside biobased packaging. These models also require the precise measurement of the permeability to different gases of the materials and the respiration of the product, for which CITA has specific equipment.
The project also develops different strategies to improve the properties of biobased materials, so that they are less affected by the humidity and temperature conditions that may be encountered during transport and marketing, ensuring optimal conditions for the preservation of agri-food products.