CuanTec has extended shelf-life by 40% using standard packaging film with a layer of naturally antimicrobial chitosan. Photo: CuanTec.
CuanTec has extended shelf-life by 40% using standard packaging film with a layer of naturally antimicrobial chitosan. Photo: CuanTec.

Salmon packaging 'will extend shelf-life by 40%'

A biodegradable packaging material that can extend the shelf-life of salmon by 40% should be available in about a year to 18 months, its Scottish-based developers have said.

Published Last updated

CuanTec uses antimicrobial chitosan derived from langoustine shells as the basis for its food contact material.

The company, based in Oban and Motherwell, has put a layer of chitosan on standard PET/PE laminate packaging and extended the shelf-life by 40%.

It is currently working on gaining the same shelf-life extension from a fully-home compostable packaging film that also has a chitosan layer.

The product would further extend the green credentials of farmed salmon, which already has a lower carbon footprint than other meat proteins and a better food conversion ratio.

Cait Murray-Green: 'We are seeing no listeria and a reduction in pseudomonas.' Photo: CuanTec.
Cait Murray-Green: "We are seeing no listeria and a reduction in pseudomonas." Photo: CuanTec.

‘No listeria’

CuanTec chief executive Dr Cait Murray-Green that tests with the packaging were promising.

“We are seeing no listeria and we are seeing a reduction in pseudomonas, which are the two main food pathogens that are a problem with salmon,” said Murray-Green.

“We haven’t finalised the formulation, there are all the different aspects of what makes a packaging and we’re not there on all of it, but certainly in terms of can we address the spoilage issue, it looks like we can certainly go a long way to being helpful in that regard.”

Biopolymer

CuanTec uses fermentation to extract the biopolymer chitin from langoustine shells and then converts the chitin into chitosan, which is soluble.

A by-product of the process is a protein-rich liquor which CuanTec hopes can be utilised in salmon feed.

“It has naturally-occurring astaxanthin in it from the langoustine, which I know is attractive to the salmon industry for pinking up the flesh,” said Murray-Green.

Read more about CuanTec’s plans in the current issue of Fish Farming Expert magazine. An online version can be accessed at the top right of this website’s home page.