Consumers in the U.S. and Europe could soon benefit from the fruits of an Israeli technology that can prevent microbacterial infestation of foods and beverages. Ness Ziona-based Oplon has signed an agreement with a large multinational food manufacturer for the development of packaging materials based on Oplon’s technology. The 3-year deal is worth $8 million, not including royalties that may accrue based on the products developed, the company said.
Oplon specializes in the development of materials that ward off the growth of bacteria on surfaces. The coatings use a special set of molecules that create an electrical charge, zapping bacteria. According to Oplon, the packaging can keep food germ-free for days — and even weeks — without refrigeration or preservatives. An open container of milk, the company says, will keep for 30 days without refrigeration, with regular pasteurized milk capable of having the shelf life and attributes of UHT milk. Water stored in Oplon containers will be disinfected, even if it is drawn from contaminated sources.
Besides food storage, Oplon is developing its materials for medical use. Patches, catheters and tubes made out of Oplon-developed material have the potential to significantly reduce infections in hospitals, and they are able to act effectively even against highly resistant strains of bacteria, like MRSA. Applied to agriculture, Oplon materials can be used to prevent rot in seeds or crops, and prevent the spread of disease in fields. Oplon has even developed a treatment for acne, which, when applied, kills the germs that cause pimples and rejuvenates the skin – showing results within hours, the company says.
Currently, most food manufacturers use chemicals or preservatives to prevent the buildup of germs in products. In the case of liquids, manufacturers often “hot fill” cartons by heating the liquids to a level of 70 degrees Celsius. Both of these solutions are problematic, according to Oplon, with chemicals potentially leaching into food and preservatives often causing allergies and other health problems, and heat filling damaging the nutritional value of juices and the like. Using their product, the company said, ensures foolproof protection from bacteria.
Oplon did not specify which specific products it planned to produce with the multinational food manufacturer, but the company reaches markets in the U.S. and Europe, the company said. The manufacturer will provide $8 million for the development of packaging for food and drinks over a 3-year period, with the development to be done at Oplon’s labs in Ness Ziona, and in the manufacturer’s European and American facilities. Once the products are developed, Oplon said, the company will enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with the manufacturer, with Oplon to receive royalties for the products developed.