The increasing demand for packed convenience foods means there are new challenges for the food and packaging industries. Foods that spoil easily require innovative packaging systems to guarantee their quality and shelf-life. The development of modified packaging systems, for example with effective barrier properties and active functions, is one of the main areas of research of the Fraunhofer Project Center. These optimizations must take into account the tropical climate and longer transport routes for export products. A further key activity is the development of sustainable packaging systems. The research work includes aspects such as how renewable materials can be utilized for the manufacture of packaging and/or how the material properties of packaging systems can be improved by using renewable raw materials, for example the use of proteins as a coating on plastic and paper.
The babassu palm (Attalea speciosa) is native to the southern region of the Amazon Basin in South America and grows over an area of 180,000 km2. The palms reach a height of up to 30 m and can yield up to 2000 fruit in a year. The fruit consist of a fiber-containing exocarp, a starch-rich mesocarp, and a lignin-rich endocarp which contains up to six oil-rich seeds