Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati Researcher has developed an edible and biodegradable coating to extend the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables. It has been tested on potato, tomato, green chili, strawberries, Khasi Mandarin varieties of orange, apples, pineapples, and Kiwi. As per officials, it keeps vegetables fresh for almost 2 months.
This product will help in reduce the post-harvest loss in our country by giving them longer shelf life.
“According to Indian council of Agriculture research, about 4.6 and 15.9 percent of fruits and vegetables go waste after harvesting seasons. Not only are losses a waste of food, but they also represent the waste of human effort, farm inputs, livelihoods, investments, and scarce resources such as water. The post-harvest loss in onion and tomato can go up to 19 percent, resulting in high commodity prices.” But, with the introduction of this product researchers believe that this will contribute to the sustainable growth of the country.
It helps as an edible coating for plants and fruits in which scientists combined a micro-algae extract with polysaccharides. It is also used as a source of algal, which is used as an oil, a non-animal source of omega-3 fatty acid. Marine microalga Dunaliella tertiolecta has several bioactive substances, including carotenoids, proteins, and polysaccharides, and is well known for its antioxidant qualities.
The manufacturing of these edible films showed exceptional antioxidant activity, total phenolic content, water vapor barrier performance, thermal stability, and mechanical strength. Additionally, they were effective in blocking UV-Vis light.
They are stable to light, heat, and temperature up to 40 degrees Celsius, and can be safely eaten as they do not contain any unflavored properties to it. They retain fruit and vegetable texture, color, appearance, flavor, nutritional value, and microbial safety that have been coated by increasing their shelf life.