VADODARA/ANAND, March 3: You may not require refrigerating costly fruits and vegetables. A mango can stay fresh more than 10 days while a jamun’s shelf-life has got almost doubled.
In a breakthrough in post harvest crop preservation, researchers at Vallabh Vidyanagar-based Sadar Patel University(SPU) have developed an emulsion that provides an eco-firendly ‘shield’ to perishable fruits and vegetables.
Generally, fruits, mostly apples in supermarkets, have a eco-friendly wax coating on them that keeps them fresh. This coating technology reduces post-harvest losses, which, in Gujarat, one of the top 10 horticulture producing state, amounts to Rs 11,400 crore. A study by Assocham has pegged the post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables in the country at a staggering Rs 2.50 lakh crore in 2014.
The eco-friendly coating not only increases shelf life by delaying the ripening process but also increases nutrition.
“After China, India ranks second in production of fruits and vegetables, which is likely to cross 377 million metric tonnes by 2021. But because of lack of storage facilities, there are huge losses,” says professor T V Ramana Rao from SPU’s biosciences department, whose team developed the technology. By using bio-polymers, SPU’s team has successfully increased shelf life of fruits like banana, mango, papaya, strawberry, grapes, jamun, sapota, carambola, phalsa, guava, custard apple, pear and plum, apart from vegetables like tomato, capsicum and broccoli.
“We use bio-polymers like carbohydrates (sodium alginate, chitosan, starch, xanthan gum etc) and proteins (soy protein, gelatin etc) to increase shelf life of these fruits and vegetables by 40%,” says Rao.