At Harvard, packages you can eat

Summary:Harvard University scientists have developed edible packaging.

Who wouldn't love to eat a bowl of ice cream? How about eating the container it comes in, too?

That's the idea behind a new material created by scientists at Harvard University.

WikiCells are natural food membranes held together by electrostatic forces. They contain a liquid, foam or solid substance encased within an edible biodegradable shell, like an orange.

WikiCells are currently being tested at Harvard's partner institute, Le Laboratoire in Paris.

Cynthia Graber reports for Scientific American:

"The technology is currently a bit of a novelty. But the scientists are working on shelf stability and taste to create a variety of consumer products."

The researchers say WikiCells can be used for food and beverages in restaurants, homes, offices and grocery stores as a way to reduce the amount of packaging that goes to landfills.

Although the packaging might taste good, I wonder if it has as prolonged a shelf-life as packaged food.

Have Your Cake and Eat Its Package [Scientific American]

Photo: Flickr/BradHinton

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Topics: Innovation


Contributing Editor Amy Kraft is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for New Scientist and DNAinfo and has produced podcasts for Scientific American's 60-Second-Science. She holds degrees from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Follow her on Twitter. Full Bio

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