A group of researchers from the National University in Palmira, managed to prolong the shelf life of sliced mango for the export industry to 21 days while preserving its nutritional quality.
Even though India is the world's largest mango producer with more than 11.6 million tons per year (according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture) and Colombia only produces 243,375 tons in 23,624 hectares, this product is considered of great importance to the Colombian agribusiness because of the significant per capita consumption, 5.27 kilograms per year.
According to the data from Agronet, between 2011 and 2012 there was a significant increase in the planted area and production of this fruit. The department of Tolima, for example, doubled production.
As such, the agro food business is growing in the country and there is the opportunity of exporting fruits and vegetables to the United States, the largest importer, with over 250,000 tons.
Cristian Torres Leon, agro-industrial engineer from the National University in Palmira and researcher from Colciencias, said that that was why they had done research to extend the lifespan of the mango, an indispensable requirement for export.
"Since the sliced mango is perishable, the idea is to prolong its life and retain its fresh properties so that it doesn't lose its basic nutritional components through a technique of edible coating," said Torres.
This fruit can last up to nearly seven days when it's refrigerated. Thus, the research group performed physical, chemical, and sensory analysis of the fruit's maturation, as well as of the storage process, taking samples and verifying their degree of maturation.
"We applied an edible coating to the sliced mango and extended its lifespan. After the corresponding analysis, we found that this product may be stored for more than 24 days in optimum conditions for human consumption, " said the young researcher.
It is positive news for the mango chain in Colombia. Especially now that, with the support of the Colombian Agricultural Institute, the country can export sliced mango, i.e. it is an opportunity to better position the product.
"It's important to note that this research will help promote the production and research of this fruit in Colombia," he concluded.
Source: Agencia de Noticias UN
Publication date: 6/3/2014