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Source: The post is based on the article “New edible coating to prolong shelf life of fruits and vegetables” published in Down To Earth on 29th August 2022.
What is the News?
Researchers at the IIT Guwahati have developed an edible coating that can extend the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables. This coating can keep the produce fresh for much longer than it was possible without it.
How did the researchers develop this edible coating?
Researchers used a mix of an extract of a marine microalga called Dunaliella tertiolecta and polysaccharides to produce it.
The microalga is known for its antioxidant properties and has various bioactive compounds such as carotenoids and proteins.
It is also used to produce algal oil, a non-animal source of omega-3 fatty acid and is considered a good source of biofuel.
Usually, after the oil is extracted, the residue from the process is discarded. The researchers used extracts from this residue in formulating their film coating in combination with chitosan which is a carbohydrate.
What is the significance of this development?
According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, between 4.6 and 15.9% of fruits and vegetables go waste post-harvest, partly due to poor storage conditions.
In fact, post-harvest loss in certain produce items like potato, onion, and tomato could even be as high as 19%, which results in high prices for this highly consumed commodity.
Hence, the development of this edible coating can help extend the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables.