By Gilberto Silber Schmidt
Embrapa– The research developed by Embrapa Instrumentation in São Carlos (SP), have had promising results in the study of nanotechnology for agribusiness. The substitution of plastics by edible and invisible films to the involvement and protection of food is one of these technologies that can reduce the need for processing of forced ripening of fruits and vegetables and at the same time improve the quality and extend the foods’ shelf life.
“The new film can reduce up to 40% of the food waste after harvest and add value to Brazilian export of fruits and vegetables ,” said Dr. Bernard Rubens Filho, the research Coordinator.
With the coating, fruits and vegetables can take up 20 days after harvest to begin the process of degradation, which on average takes four days under normal storage conditions. For apple using film can extend up to 10 days storage at ambient temperature, extending the marketing period, thereby reducing post-harvest losses.
The later fruit harvest and the slowing aging process allows to provide the consumer with a higher quality product, avoiding the use of chemical processes, often chemical ripening. Besides apple, research has been conducted with mango, pear, banana, nuts and vegetables. The edible films are produced according to each food type, and may use corn starch or soy proteins as a raw material.
The foods are coated by immersion in liquid solution and dried naturally. An invisible film forms on the surface protecting the food, decreasing the gas exchanges and creating a physical barrier to water loss. The coating does not replace the need to use package protection, such as boxes, to prevent the fruit from spoiling during transportation and storage.
The antifungal effect and the inhibition of bacteria growth is one of the features added to the process. Moreover, studies indicate that the film can stimulate consumption. “We identified in laboratory tests that rats consumed 20% more food coated.” The technology, made possible by the nanometric size of the particles that make up the film. It has yet not expectation to hit the market.
Source and Photo: Avicultura Industrial
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