Science and Technology

Black wraps matter

| Updated on August 15, 2021

IMAGE: ISTOCK.COM   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

Indian scientists have developed a composite paper made of carbon (graphene oxide) and loaded with preservatives that can be used as wrappers to extend the shelf life of fruits. Unlike the present practice of dipping fruits in preservative, where the chemicals are adsorbed by the fruit and cause chronic toxicity to consumers, here the wrapper releases the preservative only when needed. The wrapper can also be reused.

Fruits are highly perishable, and nearly half the produce is wasted, causing huge losses. Conventional preservation relies on coating the fruit with a resin, wax, or edible polymer, which may cause chronic health problems. A team of researchers, led by Dr PS Vijayakumar, from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology, Mohali, has developed the alternative, which can be generated from waste and does not allow adsorption of preservatives in the fruit.

The activated graphene oxide molecules were loaded with preservatives. When cast into a paper used for fruit wrapping, the preservative-loaded graphene oxide ensures that the fruit is not loaded with toxic preservatives. But when the fruit over-ripens or gets infested by pathogens, the acidity increases by the secretion of acids, and oxalic acids trigger the release of the preservatives to safekeep the fruit. Otherwise, the preservative stays with the carbon wrapper. In the fruit dipping method, the preservative will be lost along with the fruit, whereas the wrapper can be re-used.

Published on August 15, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor