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May 29, 2012

Food Nanotechnology Offers Solution to Reduce Perishable Food Losses

Food Nanotechnology Researchers in India and Canada Develop Nano-Film Packaging Materials to Extend Food Shelf-Life

Food nanotechnology targets
extending shelf-life of perishable fruits like these
mangoes being carried to market in
Bangalore, India.  As the largest mango
producer in the world, India produces 13 million tons.
Without adequate cold storage, 0% of the

harvest perishes before being consumed.
Photo: AP/Aijaz Rahi  

Food nanotechnology experts at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and at the University of Guelph are testing a 'nano-film' packaging material to extend the life of mangoes after harvesting. The nano-film produces a chemical vapor that can extend the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables up to three weeks. According to an article in SciDev.Net, the mango research project was launched in March 2012 and will last for 30 months. It involves spraying mango crops in three different areas in Tamil Nadu state, India.

One of the purposes of the project is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by reducing the costs. Researchers believe that this can be encouraged if waste is reduced, encouraging prices to drop.  Currently, the lack of refrigeration and cold chain facilities in India results in an estimated 40% loss of fruit harvests.

The food nanotechnology that is being used to create the nano-film is based on a synthetic version hexanal, a substance that is found naturally in trace amounts in beans and cucumbers. Hexanal inteacts with an enzyme called phospholipase-D, which is responsible for fruit and vegetable deterioration.

For more see:

"Reducing fruit losses in India and Sri Lanka using nanotechnology," Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), International Development Research Centre, Canada.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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