August 23, 2012
“Hydrogel” Coating Keeps Bananas Fresher For Longer
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Are you finding that you´re unable to finish eating your bananas before they get too mushy and go bad? Scientists reported at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society they are developing a fix to the problem.
Chinese scientist Xihong Li from Tianjin University of Science & Technology is working on a spray that can be applied to bananas in order to keep them fresher for longer.
The "hydrogel" coating is an absorbent material that is derived from shrimp and crab shells. This material is able to help suppress a chemical reaction taking place inside the banana that makes it go from green, to yellow, to brown.
By spraying the bananas with the gel, it can keep bananas fresh and green for up to 12 days, which works particularly good for northern China because Li said at the press conference redOrbit attended that it takes 10 days for the fruit to be delivered there.
After a banana is picked, it continues to "breath," and the more it breathes, the quicker it ripens, transforming the banana.
The hydrogel developed by Li suppresses this breathing from happening, but also kills the bacteria that cause rotting.
"We have developed a way to keep bananas green for a longer time and inhibit the rapid ripening that occurs," Li said. "Such a coating could be used at home by consumers, in supermarkets or during shipment of bananas."
Li said at the press conference when asked whether or not the taste or texture of the banana would change told reporters that nothing would change.
"The material developed can make the banana look very, and taste very good," Li said through a translator at the press conference redOrbit attended.
The hydrogel isn't quite ready for consumers to start seeing yet, but the team is working on a new ingredient that would replace an existing ingredient in order to allow it to be commercially used.