Premix introduces new active antimicrobial technology to decrease food spoilage and increase food safety

April 21, 2020

Premix, an innovative manufacturer of functional plastic materials, today unveiled PREXELENT, a new kind of active antimicrobial technology that prevents health and wellbeing problems caused by harmful microbes. Premix will now initiate several industrial-scale application development projects and invites cooperation inquiries from organizations interested in leveraging the patented technology to tap into new business opportunities.

The antimicrobial PREXELENT aims to constrain the global problem of food spoilage. The technology compounds active agents with plastics used throughout the food chain, preventing microbes from growing.

Premix anticipates significant potential in consumer food packaging and in primary production, where PREXELENT can be used to prevent spoilage due to mold, salmonella, listeria, MRSA, and other microbes. With PREXELENT, farmers and food manufacturers can reduce the use of antibiotics and environmentally hazardous substances often used to fight microbes. Further potential application areas include high-hygiene environments in healthcare and other industries and public spaces and surfaces that must be kept safe for everyone.

The core of PREXELENT is a new, patented method to mix the active antimicrobial substance with plastic. In the resulting compound, the active agent migrates to the material’s surface at a chemically controlled rate. The effectivity of the agent is activated by humidity or liquid.

Founded in 1980 and employing nearly 100 professionals in Finland, Premix has a strong track record in modifying functional plastics, developed for purposes such as controlling static electricity or enabling fast wireless data transfer. The family-owned company exports over 90% of its production.

“PREXELENT is built on a strong scientific foundation, with a proven antimicrobial effect,” said Hanna Ristola, Managing Director at Premix.

“The next phase of development is to focus on application areas where the patented antimicrobial technology enables new solutions and adds value to new business. Our goal is to introduce new antimicrobial products for wide-scale global use.”

The antimicrobial technology used in PREXELENT is inspired by resin, an active natural agent known for centuries for its antimicrobial properties. As shown by Doctor Arno Sipponen in his dissertation in 2013, coniferous resin destroys microbes and prevents growth. The effect is based on resin acids.

In 2016, Doctor Ville Mylläri, currently Product Manager at Premix, initiated a Tekes Challenge Finland project in which pine tree resin processing with thermoplastics was studied. The initial results of the project were boosted by Premix’s ability to modify plastics. In addition to resin, various other active agents can be used to achieve similar effects in specific application areas, many governed by precise regulations.

“We aim to develop a material that improves hygiene, durability, and food safety, with a price point that allows for wide-scale commercial utilization. Prexelent is compatible with existing machinery and processes in the food industry, keeping deployment investments moderate. Using materials that increase durability and decrease food spoilage is clearly a responsible choice,” Hanna Ristola continued.

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