Parul Sharma

For preserving fruits and vegetables

Team to go to Nagaland in January Shelf-life of treated fruits increases to six weeks

NEW DELHI: The Nagaland Government has sought the technology for preserving fruits and vegetables from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. The request has particularly been made to increase the shelf-life of Mandarin oranges grown in that State.

The State Government had approached the National Research Development Corporation to request IIT Delhi to send its experts for training officials and farmers in the technology. “We have an agreement with NRDC. The Nagaland Government has contacted them for a training programme to be run by IIT experts. The Government has already deposited the money. My team will go there in January for a demonstration,” reveals H. M. Chawla of the Chemistry Department at IIT Delhi who led research work on this technology.

“The Manipur Government has also shown interest in preservation of passion fruits. The officials of both the State governments had come to the laboratory on our campus to see the experiments being carried out by our team,” he added.

As part of a project under the Prime Minister’s Science and Technology Advisory Committee, Prof. Chawla and his team have developed a bio-degradable emulsion which helps in preventing fruits and vegetables from getting damaged for a relatively longer period.

Compared with uncoated fruits, the shelf-life of those washed in the emulsion has increased from three days to six weeks.

“The emulsion is prepared from a natural product obtained from lac available in this country and Thailand. The emulsion when applied to certain fruits and vegetables leaves an ultra-thin film on their surface that helps in maintaining the original naturalness of the fruit at the time of harvesting as ethylene evolution is known to trigger a slew of changes in fruit characteristics.”