THAILAND – Thailand researchers have developed an antimicrobial coating infused with cannabidiol—a non-hallucinogenic compound from cannabis known as CBD—and sodium alginate to extend the shelf life of berries.

Berries are commonly stored and transported by refrigeration in controlled atmospheres to protect shelf life for long periods of storage. They generally last anywhere from 3 to 7 seven days once they are picked and stored.

CBD is popular because of its potential therapeutic effects. However, research has also indicated that this cannabinoid has antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

In earlier research, CBD was found to inhibit the growth of several bacteria and dangerous fungi, including those that spoil fresh fruits and vegetables.

Before it can be widely employed in foods or for food preservation, the oily ingredient must first be equally dispersed in water.

This can be accomplished, for example, by encasing the CBD molecules in edible polymers. Therefore, Pongpat Sukhavattanakul, Sarute Ummartyotin, and associates sought to determine whether strawberry freshness could be prolonged and antimicrobial activity enhanced by a food coating created utilizing CBD-filled nanoparticles.

The scientists created 400-nm-wide particles of CBD by encapsulating it in poly(D, L-lactide-co-glycolide), a biodegradable polymer utilized in medication delivery.

They combined sodium alginate in water with the most reliable nanoparticles, which contained 20% weight-based CBD.

After being dipped twice into a solution of ascorbic acid and calcium chloride to transform the colorless coating into a gel, strawberries were then immersed in solutions containing varying concentrations of nanoparticles.

Strawberries were then put in open plastic containers at cold temperatures, both with and without treatment.

After 15 days, samples treated with CBD matured and decomposed considerably more gradually than untreated samples, possibly because of slower microbial development.

The coating with the highest concentration of CBD-loaded nanoparticles increased the antioxidant activity of the berries, kept their dark red color, and provided the greatest antimicrobial protection during storage, indicating that this version would have the longest shelf life.

According to the researchers, their findings show how encapsulated CBD may be used to make a colorless antimicrobial covering for active food packaging.

In related news, FRIETS, a €2.5 million (about US$2.6 million) research program, is investigating how to extend the shelf life of berries while preserving their quality through high-precision farming and cutting-edge processing techniques.

Thirteen partners from five nations—Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Romania, and England—make up the four-year project, which is titled “Sustainable optimization of the value chain of fresh and dried value-added

berries through the integration of Precision Agriculture strategies and innovative methods of dehydration and edible coating.”

The project will see researchers taking part in a total of 116 knowledge and research exchange trips between the partners involved.

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