Farmers carry out research to help keep their products safe and extend their shelf-life. This helps the country meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets of reducing food losses in production and supply chains.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, led by Professor Vimal Katiyar, have developed an edible coating that can extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The coating is made from natural ingredients and is applied to the surface of the fruit or vegetable.
The research team was led by Professors Vimal Katiyar and Vaibhav V Goud from IIT Guwahati’s Department of Chemical Engineering and CoE-SusPol. They were joined by their research scholars Ms. Kona Mondal, Ms. Tabli Ghosh, Ms. Mandavi Goswami, Ms. Shikha Sharma, and Sonu Kumar.
This new coating material has the potential to prevent food wastage and was recently tested on a variety of vegetables. These vegetables included potatoes, tomatoes, green chili peppers, strawberries, mandarin oranges, apples, pineapples, and kiwifruits. The coating was found to keep these vegetables fresh for an extended period of time – up to two months. This new coating material has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about food preservation.
The IIT Guwahati researchers have developed a way to help reduce food losses along the production and supply chains by working with other people who specialize in specific areas related to food production. Their development could help the country meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3, which is aimed at reducing food losses along the production and supply chains.
The IIT Guwahati team used a combination of micro-algae extract and polysaccharides to produce protective, edible films for coating fruits and vegetables. They also tested the biosafety of these coatings by treating BHK-21 cells with the materials. The tests showed that the coatings were nontoxic and could be safely used as edible food packaging materials.
The biodegradable coating was developed by Professor Vimal Katiyar and his team at the Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Guwahati. The coatings are mass-produced, stable to light and heat, and edible. They do not add unfavorable properties to the food product and retain the texture, color, appearance, flavor, nutritional value, and microbial safety of the fruit or vegetable. This coating, therefore, extends the shelf life of the product to several weeks or months.
This research was published in many journals, some of which are the Royal Society of Chemistry Advances, Food Packaging and Shelf Life, Food Chemistry, IJBM, ACS-JAFC, and American Chemical Society’s Food Science and Technology.