Argentine scientists increase strawberry shelf life by 50%

Argentine scientists have managed to increase the lifespan of strawberries by 50 percent by treating them with a natural preservative developed from the shells of shrimp, reported one of the researchers to Efe.

The taste, moisture, vitamin C and other characteristics of strawberries can last up to 50% longer thanks to a natural preservative developed by National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI) in the province of Buenos Aires.

"We managed to extend the postharvest life of strawberries using a coating of chitosan, a natural preservative that we got from the shell of shrimps," said chemical engineer Fernando Bollini, from INTI.

Chitosan, a non-toxic biopolymer, biocompatible and naturally degradable that has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties, has the ability to slow the deterioration of fruits allowing them to be stored for an extended period of time.

Bollini said they decided to work with strawberries because it is a fruit that is rapidly degraded and, therefore, it is important to extend its life.

About 40% of the strawberries in the Argentine market are discarded because of poor appearance and spoilage caused by microorganisms.

Bollini explained that they have been working on this research for years and that they already have figured out how to produce chitosan in order to apply it to other fruits and vegetables.

The liquid coating was applied by dipping and spraying the fruits, but the scientists explained that they planned to start working on the fruits and vegetables even before the harvest, in order to further extend their lifespan.


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