Keeping strong food smells under wraps

Posted: 10 July 2015 | Victoria White | 1 comment

Scientists have developed a new film made out of zeolites that can reduce food smells to levels below what humans can sniff out…

Some of the world’s most popular foods and seasonings can also be accompanied by a strong smell – think garlic, onions, certain cheeses and the notoriously stinky Asian durian fruit.


No amount of plastic wrap seems to contain strong food smells, but now scientists have developed a new film that could finally neutralise the odours of even the most pungent fare.

Zeolite film traps sulphur-containing compounds responsible for bad food smells

The fetid smell of some foods makes it difficult to take them anywhere without offending others such as fellow train or bus riders. But tastes are growing more global, so scientists are looking for ways to transport and store reeking edibles without overpowering the senses of people nearby. They’ve tested some materials, but their success has been limited so far. Lennart Bergström from the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry at Stockholm University and colleagues wanted to come up with a better packaging solution.

The researchers developed a film out of zeolites, which are microporous solids containing aluminium and silicon, and cellulose from wood. Testing the material showed that it could trap the sulphur-containing compounds often responsible for bad food smells. This adsorption reduced odours to levels below what humans can sniff out.

The research findings are published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

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One response to “Keeping strong food smells under wraps”

  1. Michael Potter says:

    Will this new material be biodegradable, how can it be easily separated from the rest of the plastic film recyclable stream? If it can’t be separated, and it degrades the value of other waste, then we should do without it.

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