Edible Water Balls - Can Avoid Plastic Bottles

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Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator

Water is one of the precious compounds on Earth. Availability of pure drinking water for human consumption is inevitable. Currently, major fraction of drinking water is supplied though various non-biodegradable packaged materials. However, use of non-biodegradable plastics for packaging is resulting in generating of huge quantities of waste. Alternatively, biodegradable (ecofriendly) water packing materials can be considered as a solution.

Edible water balls, which are eco-friendly, can replace these millions of plastic bottles. These biodegradable water balls are composed of algae (sea weed) and are edible materials. The preparation of edible water balls is very easy, and can be prepared at home. The preparation involves mixing of sodium alginate and calcium lactate with drinking water. This forms a gelatinous membrane structure and retains the drinking water in the middle of a gelatinous structure. Sodium alginate (NaAlg) coagulates when exposed to calcium chloride (CaCl2) and forms calcium alginate (CaAlg2 ) and sodium chloride (NaCl), according to the following reaction Eq.(1). The prepared calcium alginate ball with water is considered as a refreshing edible water drink and does not require a separate vessel like a bottle or a cup to hold water.

2NaAlg + CaCl2 --> CaAlg2 + 2NaCl… Eq.1

Alginates are natural products of brown algae, and have been widely used in wound dressing, drug delivery, food applications etc. In addition, calcium is a necessary element for regular functions of human body as it also helps in bone formation and maintenance. Moreover, biocompatibility of alginate gels have been studied extensively and their safety for consumption is well established. As natural polysaccharides resistant to breakdown by human digestive enzymes, alginates are classified as dietary fiber.

Currently, the edible water container is not available commercially, although the developers are working to bring it to market. The prototypes have been tested in several markets and certain limitations are associated to reach the market. Majorly, thin membrane is not strong enough to withstand shipping and handling on a large scale. This product is named “Ooho” the edible bottle, by the Skipping Rocks Lab, a startup based in London. Water drinks on the go is the major advantage of these edible balls. In addition, these water balls are ecofriendly and serve as an alternative to plastic bottles. Drinking water from inside a soft edible membrane made from natural seaweed extract is considered as a sustainable product in the long run.

Author: A.Naresh Kumar, CSIR-Senior Research Fellow, CEEFF, CSIR-IICT.

Image source:  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/10/edible-water-bottle-to-cause-a-splash-at-eu-sustainability-awards


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Venkata Akshaya Sri.U

This is useful one...and we can make it at home...aligates are a main part of dietary fibre..very valuable post ...we can also prevent the use of non biodegradable plastic bottles and cups .We can prevent plastic and we can make our society free of plastic for storing water.but i also think that this one is not suitable while travelling . Because geletanious structure may break in the middle... THIS IS MY OPINION ON THIS POST###

Posted on : 19-05-2018 11:51:30

Venkata Akshaya Sri.U

Thanks to A.NARESH KUMAR sir for this valuable post

Posted on : 19-05-2018 11:53:27

Sandeep Ahirwar

Will this be costly? Asking because most of peoples in our country like to buy which is less in price

Posted on : 06-06-2018 03:46:49