Fruits are highly perishable. Hence 50 per cent of fruits produced are wasted, causing huge losses. Conventional preservation relies on coating the preservative with the resin, wax, or edible polymer, which may cause chronic health problems.
The Department of Science and Technology has stated that Indian researchers have developed a composite paper made of carbon (graphene oxide) loaded with preservatives, that can be used as wrappers to help extend the shelf-life of fruits. Unlike the present technology, where preservatives are adsorbed by the fruit, the wrapper releases the preservative only when needed. The wrapper can be reused, which is a first.
A team of researchers led by P.S. Vijayakumar from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology, looked for an alternative that could be generated from waste and would not lead to adsorption of preservatives in the fruit. The activated graphene oxide-loaded molecules are loaded with preservatives. This high preservative-loaded graphene oxide, when cast into a paper used for fruit wrapping, ensures that the fruit is not loaded with toxic preservatives.
This novel product can benefit the farmers and the food industry by extending the shelf-life of fruits. Using this wrapper for the fruit will also ensure that the customer gets healthy quality fruits as we have found improvement in the phenol content.
Production of this graphene fruit wrapper requires only the carbon produced from the heating of biomass, hence it will also benefit in biomass consumption and employment generation.