© JOHN KERNICK

An new biodegradable food wrap is made from crab, shrimp and lobster shells.

April 22, 2016

Move over, plastic. Crabs shells are here to do a better job of keeping food fresh. A professor and PhD student duo from the National University of Singapore have developed a new wrap from chitosan, a polymer extracted from crustaceans’ exoskeletons, and grapefruit seed extract.

According to Futurity, chitosan is naturally antimicrobial and antifungal, while grapefruit seed extract is an antioxidant with antiseptic, germicidal, antibacterial, fungicidal and antiviral properties. Apparently, they’re the ultimate dynamic duo when it comes to food preservation.

The new and improved chitosan-based wrap looks just like plastic wrap but is far better. Not only is it biodegradable, it also prevents fungal and bacteria growth, blocks out ultraviolet light, which can cause food to oxidize, and it keeps food fresh for twice as long as regular plastic wrap. Researchers hope that once the wrap hits the market in three to five years, it will help reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging by significant levels.