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Brief Published: 15 Jul 2014

Jellyfish Nappies

Jellyfish could be turned into nappies

Israeli technology company Cine'al is developing a range of biodegradable nappies, sponges and napkins using a super-absorbent material made from jellyfish.The eco-friendly products were inspired by research from Tel Aviv University into the super absorbency of jellyfish.

Hydromash is a natural material created by breaking down jellyfish flesh and using nanoparticles to add additional elements such as tissue-healing and antibacterial properties. The substance can hold several times its weight in water and biodegrades in 30 days, making it perfect for a range of super-absorbent disposable products. In comparison, nappies, paper towels and other absorbent products are usually made from synthetic materials, which take hundreds of years to decompose.

Jellyfish numbers have been increasing in recent years, due to warmer ocean temperatures and higher levels of marine acidity. "There are too many jellyfish in the sea, and too many Pampers [disposable nappies] in landfills," Cine'al president Ofer Du-Nour told news publication the Times of Israel. "Cine'al may have the ultimate answer to both those issues."

From shrimp bioplastic to super-strong glass created with mollusc shells, marine life is proving to be an enduring source of inspiration for materials scientists. For further bio-inspired breakthroughs in materials, robotics and packaging, take a look at Marine Materials and Biomaterials. For more innovative approaches to sustainable product design, see Intervene, and look out for our sustainable packaging report in our forthcoming Industry Trend, Packaging Futures.