Simple treatment can extend banana’s shelf life

New York, Oct 8 (IANS) A post harvest treatment with a natural lipid can extend the shelf life of bananas by up to two days, thus enhancing the fruit’s marketability, new research has found.

After turning yellow, bananas become unsuitable for sale within one to three days, so finding ways to extend the banana’s shelf life by just one to two days could enhance their market value.

“Previous studies conducted in our laboratory have demonstrated that both pre and post harvest application of lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE) can retard ageing and improve shelf life of various fruits,” said one of the researchers Jiwan Palta from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.

“In this study we investigated the possibility of improving shelf life of banana fruit by a post harvest dip in LPE,” Palta noted.

In the experiments, bananas at “ripeness stage” (about 75 percent green) were dipped in solution of 500 ppm LPE for 30 minutes and observed for a period of five days at room temperature.

Each treatment was applied to 50 uniform bananas. Bananas from the same bunch (used as a control) were not treated.

“Five days after dip treatment, the fruit treated with LPE were firmer and thicker as compared with the untreated control,” the study said.

Starch breakdown was also delayed in the LPE-treated fruits. LPE treatment slowed the development of brown spots on the peel tissue.

The authors said these results suggest that LPE “may improve shelf life by maintaining membrane integrity, reducing respiration, and slowing the breakdown of starch and cell walls during ripening and senescence of banana fruit tissue.”

Results of the experiments indicated that a post harvest dip treatment with LPE may improve shelf life of banana fruit by one to two days.

The study was published in the journal HortScience.

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