Symposium SB10: Micro- and Nanoengineering of Biomaterials—From Precision Medicine to Precision Agriculture and Enhanced Food Security
Adam Behrens, Mori
Silk Fibroin as an Edible Food Coating
Written by Jessalyn Low
Over one third of food is wasted every year. To enhance food resilience, one potential approach would be finding ways to improve food packaging and increase their shelf life. In this presentation, Behrens presents the idea of using silk fibroin as a material for edible food coating that has great potential in slowing down food spoilage and making food more resilient. Silk fibroin is a highly favorable material due to properties such as its self-assembly properties which create strong barrier properties, as well as film-forming properties which allow for coating on a diverse range of substrates. In particular, silk crystallinity is an integral factor that improves the moisture barrier of silk, while influencing other properties such as mechanical strength and water resistance. This crystallinity can be controlled accordingly using heat and solvent treatments. The silk fibroin coating has shown immense potential to improve shelf life across a wide range of food, ranging from avocadoes, to cereal and fish. In leafy greens, the silk coating provided a barrier effect on leaves, thus reducing respiration rate and a 25% improvement in shelf life. This highlights the potential of using silk fibroin as an edible food coating to build the resilience of our food systems.