A team of researchers at Rice University in Houston have discovered a new method of prolonging fruit and vegetable freshness, by using eggs unfit to be shelved in markets.
In the last decade, the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the United States have increased by a whopping 30%, though on the other hand, 20% of the produced goods are ruined due to spoilage.
As for the eggs, the U.S. produces more than seven billion eggs per year, but producers reject 3% of them. This results in over 200 million eggs ending up in landfills.
Recently, a team of scientists from Rice University have discovered a good use for the rejected eggs by using them as a base for an inexpensive coating, that could be used to protect fruits and vegetables.
In a statement about the project, co-corresponding author of the study, Muhammad Rahman said:
“We chose egg proteins because there are lots of eggs wasted, but it doesn’t mean we can’t use others.”
Roughly 70% of the coating consists of a biopolymer that’s consisted of egg yolks and whites.
The remaining 30% include nanoscale cellulose fibers harvested from wood as well as a bit of curcumin from Tumeric spice, with some small amount of glycerol.
The cellulose-based fiber prevents moisture evaporating from the fruits and vegetables, while the curcumin and glycerol give the coating its anti-microbial and elastic properties, respectively.
During the trials, the researchers discovered that produces such as strawberries, avocado, and bananas that were dip-coated, were much more resistant to spoilage on the long run.
The fruits ripen slower, but they also resisted infiltration from bacteria when compared to their uncoated counterparts, successfully prolonging the freshness of the produces.
Although the coating is edible, it washes off with water , which comes very handy to those that have egg allergies.
Copyright Grupo de Comunicação AgriNews SL. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents of this page in any format or communication, electronic or printed, without express authorization is prohibited. Request authorization.
See other magazines