23 March, 2018
Claiming mangoes shelf life longer this summer, researchers at the department of nano science and technology of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has come up with a technology to expand the ripening cycle and shelf life of the fruit. However this technology may result in price hike.
‘Enhanced Freshness Formulation’ (EFF), technology uses hexanal or hexanaldehyde, an organic compound secreted by plants. G J Janavi, head of the department of nano science and technology said, hexanal also inhibits the production of Phsopholipase D enzyme, which in turn slows down the production of ethylene, the enzyme responsible for ripening in fruits. This has been proven to extend the shelf life of the fruits by an average of 12 days.
She added, the hexanal formulation was first developed and patented by researchers in Canada. “They had used it on temperate fruits like cherries and berries. The TNAU worked on using the formulation on tropical fruits, mainly mangoes. We made the formulation simpler and cost effective”. Researchers conducted trials with around 4,000 farmers in Dindigul, Theni, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri.
Farmers, who have used the technology, say they have had positive results. M C Santhakumar, a mango grower from Krishnagiri said, by using EFF, the harvest gets delayed by 15 to 20 days.
“If the market is flooded with mangoes during the season, the price drops drastically. But, by delaying ripening and prolonging the harvest, we could increase the price. I have been using the formulation on trial basis for the past five years on my 35-acre mango field. I have got Rs 1,500 extra profit per tonne,” said Santhakumar, in whose field the formulation was tested first.
The formulation provides a win-win situation for farmers and customers, says Arun R Nagarajan, secretary of fruit growers association. The technology helps in reducing wastage and also to supply fruits for a longer time. He added that EFF helps in realizing a staggered harvest, which streamlines the supply and also prevents price drop
Researchers at TNAU say they have also used the technology on bananas. We have tried dipping bananas in EFF solution and have got good results. Santhakumar said he tried the formulation on banana and found that it delayed ripening by almost 20 days.