Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee have created a water-based edible ink made from plants for use in printing and packaging. The edible ink created at IIT Roorkee’s Department of Paper Technology is made entirely of plant-based materials, categorically without the use of chemicals. IIT Roorkee says that this ink is a replacement for natural ink that is completely eco-friendly, non-toxic, and good for a wide range of printing and packaging uses.
Professor Kirtiraj K. Gaikwad and his MTech student Lokam Hakim at the Department of Paper Technology at IIT Roorkee are working on a way to print on food that is better for the environment.
Synthetic ink is challenging to extract from printed packaging during package recycling, according to IIT Roorkee, and the results may aggravate environmental circumstances. This is especially true in a country like India, where it is predicted that 373.6 billion pieces of packaging will be consumed by 2021.
The institution added that solvents and chemical elements found in synthetic ink might cause skin rashes and dermatitis when they come into contact with skin.
According to IIT Roorkee, the created ink is considered a food and non-food substrate for printing because it is entirely made of plant-based materials and is “catechu” (chemical-free).
The application of brand stickers to produce is referred to as surface branding. These stickers also include several low-toxic chemicals; thus, any exposure from accidental, sporadic sticker intake would be expected to be a health hazard. Instead of using stickers, the new ink can be used to print on fruits and vegetables because it is edible.