BiOrangePack is a European project funded by PRIMA SECTION 2 - 2019

The research carried out in the European BiOrangePack Project by AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, was recognized at the Fourth Edition of the go!ODS awards, organized by the Spanish Global Compact Network in collaboration with the Rafael del Pino Foundation. Specifically, the project was recognized for its contribution to SDG 2: Zero Hunger, accredited to the development of active coatings for citrus fruits that help reduce fungal rot and are made from fruit pulp waste. This initiative aims to ensure the sustainability of food production systems and the application of resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, one of the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

In the words of Irene Ríos, food packaging researcher at AIMPLAS, “One of the greatest challenges for the trade and consumption of citrus fruits is their perishability. Fungal rot is the main cause of post-harvest losses. That’s why, together with the 13 partners of the BiOrangePack Project, we are working to overcome this problem and improve the efficiency, sustainability, and profitability of the post-harvest processing chain of organic citrus fruits”.

This project is focused on finding a more efficient logistics system in the citrus trade and the use of active and ecological packaging that protects and extends the shelf life of oranges and lemons. Specific goals include reducing post-harvest rot loss by up to 30% with non-toxic and ecological treatments and extending the shelf life of oranges from 40 to 50 days and of lemons from 60 to 70 days.

Food waste is a serious social and economic issue but also represents a major environmental problem because not only is food wasted, but so are the resources used to produce food that will not be consumed, resulting in an unnecessary increase in the production of greenhouse gases. By reducing food waste, we’re making a great contribution to environmental protection and adaptation to and mitigation of climate change through the efficient use of productive resources,” Ríos added.

Reduction of waste and chemicals

BiOrangePack also aims to reduce waste from the industrial transformation of fruits into juices and essences by up to 80% by using citrus pulp waste to develop these active coatings against fungal rot. These coatings can be applied to the fruit itself as edible active packaging or as individual paper wrappers.

The use of waste to develop active packaging is aligned with the stable, sustainable supply of food and the use of environmentally friendly natural materials. Furthermore, the use of natural additives sourced from fruit pulp to develop active packaging for citrus fruits presents major environmental advantages compared to synthetic additives because chemical products are not used, thus reducing pollution.

Consortium of 14 partners

BiOrangePack is a European project funded by PRIMA SECTION 2 – 2019. In this proposal, five of the main citrus-producing countries in the Mediterranean region are participating, including the EU’s two main citrus-producing countries (Italy and Spain), the two main citrus exporters (Spain and Turkey), two highly dynamic North African citrus producers in expansion (Algeria and Tunisia), the main EU country producing organic citrus fruits (Italy), and the EU’s main citrus fruit importer (France).

Specifically, the consortium partners are the Centro Siciliano di Fisica Nucleare e di Struttura della Materia, Center for colloid and surface science – Laboratory for Molecular Surfaces and Nanotechnology, Organizzazione dei produttori di Agrumi – OP Cosentino, Decco Italia, Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique, University of Valencia, Agdia Emea, University of Tunisi El Manar, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Tunisie, Centre Technique des Agrumes, Ankara University, Institut de Recherche en Horticulture et Semences, and AIMPLAS.

The go!ODS Awards aim to recognize and support innovative projects that contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Besides the award received by BiOrangePack, the AIMPLAS BREAD4PLA initiative was also recognized in the First Edition of the go!ODS Awards for its contribution to SDG 12: Responsible Production and Consumption by creating biodegradable packaging for bakery products from bread waste.

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