Israeli firm debuts nano-cellulose-based, food-packaging-substrate barrier coatings

MelOx™, a high-performance, plant-sourced barrier coating that protects packaged products from oxygen, oil and grease transmission, along with VBcoat that protect packaged goods from water vapor, oil and grease transmission, have been developed by Melodea, Ltd. 

Unlike existing materials used for such purpose such as plastics and aluminum foil, Melodea sources its barrier-coating material for packaging from wood pulp. The innovative green solution helps steer paper and packaging converters toward more socially responsible packaging routes and enables them to meet sustainability goals more quickly, Melodea says. The coatings are sustainable and recyclable, and do not contribute to plastic waste.

“Cellulose, the primary building block of the cell walls of all plants, is the most abundant biopolymer on the planet,” explains Shaul Lapidot, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Melodea. “It provides plants with extraordinary strength, and is a lightweight—yet strong—material. We found that this renewable material can be utilized to produce novel, eco-friendly alternatives  for the packaging industry.”

The company applies proprietary technology to extract cellulose nano-crystals from wood pulp sourced from trees grown in industrial forests. The sustainable barrier coatings are designed to offer protection from oxygen, oil, grease, and water-vapor transmission. The coatings helps maintain the quality and integrity of the packaged foods inside, while eliminating the need for aluminum and plastic. As a forestry by-product, it also is compostable, recyclable, and completely non-toxic for people and the  environment. Once done with the package, one can simply throw it into the recycling bin, Melodea claims.

 Adds Lapidot, "The barrier coating helps the packaging industry make a smoother shift from petroleum-based plastics to plant-based materials, without compromising safety or performance.”

The EU Single-Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) went into effect in July 2022, effectively placing a ban on the 10 most-polluting, single-use plastic items littering EU beaches. Among these are plastic bags, packets, wrappers, and food containers. The directive also placed labeling requirements to inform customers on the packaging’s disposal options and its content.

The company’s liquid formulas can be applied as a coating to various substrates, including paper, paperboard, bioplastic, and even plastic itself. It serves companies across the packaging value chain, from paper and packaging producers to CPGs and food companies. The high-barrier coatings can be tailored to a broad range of packaging products, such as pouches, lids, and food / beverage cartons. It is suitable for packaging both dry and liquid products.

The coatings can be integrated into standard, industrial R2R coating lines, including slot-dies, rod coaters, and gravure. The coatings already are in pilot use by a number of major companies, Melodea says.