The Science Behind Cuantec

Green Chemistry: The Science Behind Cuantec.

CuanTec is developing new processes and new materials from marine and aquaculture waste.

Initially CuanTec will develop new materials from marine sourced chitin and chitosan obtained from the pollution free waters of the North Atlantic, taking by-products from the fisheries industries and creating innovative new products useful to many growing industries worldwide.

CuanTec is a rarity – a company working from shell to final product rather than focussing on a single section of the value-chain.

Our main advantage is that our chitosan is extracted biologically, thanks to harmless bacteria, in a low-energy process with minimal wastage, and at a high yield providing a very high quality product. The process produces no pollution, only saleable by-products.

Friendly to the environment, this technology allows us to work closely with the fish processors to create a sustainable business.

The first product developed with our chitosan is an anti-microbial, biodegradable, compostable food packaging which reduces spoilage and prolong shelf-life of fresh food. Initially this will be aimed at the seafood sector.

Our formulation creates a clear film, strong, flexible and perfect for wrapping seafood.

Plastic

The Scottish seafood sector alone loses £60 million per annum due to food spoilage. In 2015 the House of Lords conducted an inquiry reported that an estimated 89m tonnes of food are wasted every year in the EU, which is expected to rise to around 126m tonnes by 2020. In the UK 200,000 tonnes of food is sent to landfill (2013) from the big 4 supermarkets and this accounts for just 1.3% of all food waste in the UK the rest comes from smaller retailers, restaurants, and homes.

In addition to financial cost is the environmental cost of sending food to landfill and the production of methane and ammonia which add to the greenhouse gas effect and substances such as cadaverine and putrescine which smell as bad as they sound.

Currently £60 million of product is wasted in the seafood sector in Scotland alone through rejection by customers. This is 10% of the Scottish seafood market. This spoilage is predominantly due to bacterial growth, however chitosan derived from langoustine shell has the potential to vastly reduce this food waste due to the natural antimicrobial properties of the material.

More and more regulations against petroleum plastic arise worldwide. For instance, France has recently outlawed all conventional plastic cups, cutlery and plates, mandating the use of home compostable alternatives. these regulations create the need for companies to find alternatives. Often these alternatives are made from natural materials such as bioplastics and paper-based recyclable alternatives.

Accordingly, the bioplastic industry has a global worth of £15.05 billion with a CAGR of 22.36%.

CuanTec’s product CuanSave is poised to make an impact on the food packaging market from early 2019 once regulatory clearance is in place.