Researchers have discovered a potential solution to extend the shelf life of strawberries using a novel edible coating. By incorporating cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound derived from cannabis, along with sodium alginate, an edible polymer, the team was able to create an antimicrobial coating for the fruit.
CBD, known for its therapeutic properties, has shown promise as an antioxidant and antimicrobial agent in previous studies. The challenge, however, was distributing the oily compound evenly in water for widespread use in food applications. To address this, the researchers encapsulated CBD in a biodegradable polymer called poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide), which is commonly used in drug delivery. The resulting nanoparticles, measuring 400 nanometers in width, were the most stable and contained 20% CBD by weight.
To create the coating, the researchers mixed the CBD-loaded nanoparticles with sodium alginate in water. Strawberries were submerged in solutions containing varying concentrations of the nanoparticles and then dipped in a mixture of ascorbic acid and calcium chloride to solidify the colorless coating into a gel.
The treated strawberries, compared to the untreated ones, demonstrated significantly slower ripening and decay after 15 days of refrigeration. This suggests that the coating with the highest concentration of CBD-loaded nanoparticles provided the longest shelf life by reducing microbial growth. Additionally, this version of the coating preserved the berries’ dark red appearance, enhanced their antioxidant activity, and exhibited the most substantial antimicrobial protection throughout the storage period.
The researchers believe that their findings highlight the potential of encapsulated CBD to create an effective antimicrobial coating for active food packaging. This innovation could help reduce food waste and improve the freshness of strawberries, ensuring that consumers can enjoy them for a longer duration after purchase.
Source: American Chemical Society