Researchers from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, or Empa, alongside retailer Lidl Switzerland have developed a protective coating designed to extend the shelf life of fruit and vegetables and to reduce the incidence of food waste.

The protective cellulose coating was created by researchers who processed pomace — the solid residue left over after extracting juice from plants, vegetables and fruit — into fibrillated cellulose.

The coating, which is either sprayed on or applied as a dip, is reportedly harmless to consumers and during tests extended the shelf life of bananas by one week, according to the Empa team.

In addition to extending the shelf life of produce, the coating also promises to reduce the amount of petroleum-based packaging contributing to a worldwide plastic waste crisis.

The study, Sustainable Cellulose Nanofiber Films from Carrot Pomace as Sprayable Coatings for Food Packaging Applications, appears in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

For more information, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology.

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