An edible coating has been developed by UNAM researchers to extend the life of vegetables and fruits and preserve them for prolonged refrigeration. This coating with added ingredients could be applied to freshly cut foods.
Using a technology developed at the university, sliced apple could be preserved up to 25 days and a kiwifruit for two weeks.
But their production is expensive – it costs 70 pesos (around NZ$5) a litre of dispersion to coat 20kg of cut fruit to be placed in convenience stores and consumed later.
After nine years of research, the researchers found that if nanocapsules filled with alpha tocopherol and beta-carotene in fresh-cut vegetables and fruits are dispersed, homogeneous film develops, which inhibits enzymatic browning and extends the life of these foods.
The coating cannot be visibly seen due to immersion method applied to the fruit surface and the active substances are absorbed, leaving the product ready to eat.
Furthermore, coatings with a variety of flavours can be developed to make the product appealing.