New hydrogel that delays fruit rot invented by Chilean researcher

A new hydrogel that delays fruit rot for up to three weeks and will contribute to lessening food waste was invented by a Chilean researcher.

The hydrogel compound, which inhibits the growth of fungi, will prevent millions of dollars in losses due to rot in the fruit export industry. It was created by a research team led by Dr Sara Cuadros, from the Universidad Católica del Maule (UCM).

It all depends on the storage temperature, but if the fruit is kept cold, the hydrogel delays the onset of rot by at least three weeks. If there is a break in the cold chain, the protection is maintained for one or two weeks," says Dr Cuadros. 

She says the compound, based on polymers and natural extracts with antifungal properties is used in the inner surface of bags used for packing table grapes. The protection is activated after packing and gradually released during the transport stage.





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