University of Guelph research:

Natural chemical might keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer

Researchers working at the University of Guelph in Canada have discovered they can use hexanal (a compound naturally produced by fruits and veggies) to keep produce fresh for a longer period of time. Plants will produce hexanal to ward off pests and delay the onset of the enzyme phospholipase D, which makes fruits and vegetables go bad.

The researchers have written an article, stating: “Fruit that is dipped in hexanal after harvest can stay fresh for between three and four weeks longer. This means that fruit can be tree-ripened, picked and shipped to its destinations, where it would arrive in better condition and would contribute to less fruit being discarded as unpalatable or marketable.”

“We also found that there’s potential for using hexanal to improve the transportation of tastier fruit varieties that are currently too delicate to ship internationally.”  Hexanal, in spite of its artificial-sounding name, is a natural compound, and it is also safe and approved for consumption. It’s also pretty cheap and production can be scaled easily.

More research is necessary before the use of hexanal can be actually implemented in the agricultural system.


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