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Food Safety: IIT Roorkee Researchers Develop Edible Ink for Printing & Packaging

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee have developed a water-based edible ink derived from plants for printing and packaging applications.

Shivam Dwivedi
Edible ink by IIT Roorkee is made from 100 percent plant-based material
Edible ink by IIT Roorkee is made from 100 percent plant-based material

The edible ink developed at IIT Roorkee's Department of Paper Technology is made entirely of plant-based materials and does not contain any chemicals.


According to IIT Roorkee, this ink is a synthetic ink substitute that is completely environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and suitable for a variety of packaging and printing applications.

Professor Kirtiraj K Gaikwad and his MTech student Lokam Hakim at IIT Roorkee's Department of Paper Technology developed edible ink to address the challenge of finding an environmentally friendly substitute for food printing.

Synthetic ink is difficult to separate from printed packages in package recycling, according to IIT Roorkee, and the results can contribute to worsening environmental conditions.


This is especially true in a country like India, where packaging consumption is expected to reach nearly 373.6 billion units by 2021.

The institute also stated that solvents and chemical components found in synthetic ink can cause skin irritation and dermatitis when in contact with the skin.

"The developed ink is made from 100 percent plant-based material that is "catechu" (chemical-free) and is considered a food and non-food substrate for printing," according to IIT Roorkee.


Surface branding refers to the application of brand stickers to fruits and vegetables. These stickers also contain low-toxicity additives, so any exposure from the accidental consumption of a sticker would be considered a health risk. The developed ink is edible and can be used instead of stickers to print on fruits and vegetables.


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