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Thanks to a joint venture with Sensient Imaging Technologies GmbH, Grafe Advanced Polymers GmbH has managed to combine food coloring and bio-based plastics.
Specialised in the modification of thermoplastic materials, Grafe develops masterbatches, compounds and mixtures of pigments. Active in Italy with a branch at Turate (CO), the company markets masterbatches under the brand name Biocolen for coloring bioplastics. Combining plastics derived from renewable raw materials with food colorings opens up new prospects for development, also in function of the recycling of materials. The SEC - silica encapsulated colorants by Sensient (that develops and produces highly refined intermediary products and fine chemical products for hi-tech applications) provides an effective solution for encapsulating natural food colorings which greatly restricts migration in formulations. The protective layer encapsulating the colorings is a silicate matrix (silica was chosen because, as well as being present in foodstuffs, is approved for food use, Ed) that limits the oxidizing effects of the oxygen on the molecule, improving its resistance to solvents, water and pH.
The Grafe Group has tested the Biocolen in different polymers, which has resulted in several colour combinations such as brown, green, orange, yellow, red and violet.