IIT-G develops edible coating to extend shelf life of fruits & vegetables

To help the country meet UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets on reducing food losses in production and supply chains

A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) led by Prof. Vimal Katiyar, Department of Chemical Engineering and Center for Excellence  in Sustainable Polymers (CoE-SusPol), has developed an edible coating to extend the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables .

This coating material, which will  prevent wastage, was tested on vegetables such as potato, tomato, green chili and strawberries, Khasi Mandarin, apples, pineapples, kiwifruits and were found to keep these vegetables fresh for nearly two months.

The team used a mix of a micro-algae extract and polysaccharides to produce protective, edible films for coating on vegetables and fruits. The marine microalgae called Dunaliella tertiolecta is known for its antioxidant properties and has various bioactive compounds such as carotenoids, proteins, and polysaccharides.

The properties of films with varying algal extract contents were analysed and compared with controls. The fabricated edible films displayed a superior antioxidant activity, total phenolic content, water vapor barrier property, thermal stability, and mechanical strength. They also had excellent UV-Vis light-blocking property.

The researchers believe that their development could help the country meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3 that is aimed at reducing food losses along the production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.

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