Researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Tokyo Metropolitan University and Mitsubishi Chemical's The KAITEKI Institute have taken inspiration from the bacteria-killing wings of insects to develop antibacterial packaging for the food manufacturing industry.

The lab-made nanotexture reportedly features nanopillars like those on the wings of cicadas and dragonflies, which tear apart bacteria that land on the insect wings. These nanopillars reportedly rupture the bacteria’s membrane, thus destroying it.

Once developed, the nanopillars were applied to plastic surfaces like those commonly found in plastic packaging in the food manufacturing industry.

The nanopillar-enhanced plastic reportedly kills up to 70% of bacteria without using chemicals and promises to extend the shelf life and improve the quality of foods packaged in this material, according to the research team.

The article, Nanopillar Polymer Films as Antibacterial Packaging Materials, appears in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials.

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