Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Method To Help Keep Fruit, Vegetables And Flowers Fresh

Date:
October 20, 2009
Source:
Georgia State University
Summary:
A professor has developed an innovative new way to keep produce and flowers fresh for longer periods of time. The microbiologist's method uses a naturally occurring microorganism -- no larger than the width of a human hair -- to induce enzymes that extend the ripening time of fruits and vegetables, and keeps the blooms of flowers fresh.

Did you know that millions of tons of fruits and vegetables in the United States end up in the trash can before being eaten, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture?
Credit: iStockphoto/Jack Puccio

Did you know that millions of tons of fruits and vegetables in the United States end up in the trash can before being eaten, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture?

A Georgia State University professor has developed an innovative new way to keep produce and flowers fresh for longer periods of time. Microbiologist George Pierce's method uses a naturally occurring microorganism -- no larger than the width of a human hair -- to induce enzymes that extend the ripening time of fruits and vegetables, and keeps the blooms of flowers fresh. The process does not involve genetic engineering or pathogens, but involves microorganisms known to be associated with plants, and are considered to be helpful and beneficial to them.

"These beneficial soil microorganisms serve essentially the same function as eating yogurt as a probiotic to have beneficial organisms living in the gastrointestinal system," Pierce said.

The process works by manipulating the organism's diet so that it will over express certain enzymes and activities that work in the ripening process and keeping the flower blooms fresh. Pierce analogizes this to using diet and exercise to improve the performance of an athlete.

"We change the diet of the organism, and we can change its performance," Pierce said. "It's no different than taking a good athlete and putting them on a diet and exercise regime, and turning him or her into a world-class athlete."

In a very simple sense, climacteric plants -- such as apples, bananas, peaches and tomatoes -- respond to climactic change, and when they do, they produce increased levels of signal compounds like ethylene. For fruit such as peaches, ethylene causes the peach to ripen, increases aroma chemicals, but unfortunately, makes the peach very fragile.

"If you've seen ripe peaches, they will simply fall apart," Pierce said. "It will lose 90 percent of its ability to resist pressure, which means that if a peach responds normally to ethylene, it is subject to bruising when you ship it."

The enzymes produced from Pierce's new method reduce the response to signal compounds so that it takes a longer period of time for fruits to ripen, doubling the time it takes for ripening.

The catalyst in this process can be distributed through various formulations and configurations. These include being incorporated into shipping boxes, packing materials or used to treat the air of shipping containers. It could be used either with individual fruits or vegetables or for larger, bulk quantities.

This new process could have a big impact on preventing waste, improving the consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables, allowing companies to ship produce longer distances.

"Who hasn't bought fruit or vegetables and then thrown them away?" Pierce said. "Most people will buy more, and consume more, if they know that they could have a better quality of produce for longer." Pierce said.

The method also will allow for the storage of fruits, vegetables and flowers at room temperatures rather than refrigeration, thus helping to save energy, Pierce said.

The U.S. patents related to this invention are owned by the Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia State University. "New Method To Help Keep Fruit, Vegetables And Flowers Fresh." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091020111623.htm>.
Georgia State University. (2009, October 20). New Method To Help Keep Fruit, Vegetables And Flowers Fresh. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091020111623.htm
Georgia State University. "New Method To Help Keep Fruit, Vegetables And Flowers Fresh." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091020111623.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins