Popular Science

August 22, 2012

Keep Your Bananas Ripe by Spraying Them With Recycled Shrimp Shells

Share

Science spends a lot of time taking care of bananas — inventing refrigerated ships, crushing acres’ worth of them to come up with enough seeds to breed, and so on. Now a group of Chinese researchers are proposing a secondary banana coat, spraying Andrew W.K.’s favorite fruits with a hydrogel made from discarded shrimp shells.

A hydrogel coating made of chitosan, derived from crustacean shells, can prevent a banana from becoming overripe for about two weeks, according to Xihong Li, lead author of a new banana study reported this week at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting.

Related Articles

How Science Measures Food: Cheese Stretchiness, Radiation in Bananas, and MoreKraft Seeks High-Tech Packaging To Keep Chocolate Bars from Melting At High TemperaturesCan This Fruit Be Saved?

Tags

Science, Rebecca Boyle, Banana, Bananas, chemistry, food packaging, Future of Food, shrimp shellsBananas continue to respire after they’re picked, taking in oxygen through their skin. The more it respires, the faster it ripens, which is why an air-exposed banana turns brown so fast. Bananas reach a tipping point as they ripen — the pulp releases a chemical that speeds this process further, and the fruits become mushy and cloyingly sweet. Then bacteria on a banana’s skin causes it to rot.

To slow down this process, Li and colleagues sprayed green bananas with a hydrogel made of chitosan. Chitosan is prized as a fertilizer, blood clotting agent and a wine purifier, among many other uses. In the case of bananas, it helps keep them green longer, killing surface bacteria and slowing the fruit’s respiration and therefore its ripening.

This could eventually be used in banana transport or even by people at home, spritzing their bananas with a shrimp shell spray. Li is now working on a new ingredient in the hydrogel that would allow it to be used commercially.

[American Chemical Society]

Share





 
 

 
 

Are Acid Flashbacks A Myth?

Reports of drug-induced flashbacks have existed since the 1950s. Though the term “flashback” wasn’t used specifically until 1969, as early as 1954 scientists noticed LSD users complaining of a reoccurrence of ...
by Geek Staff
0

 
 
 

How To Stop Hackers

Imagine a world where security guards learn to be robbers first. The guards take a class where they don black masks and smash through a glass case to appropriate jewels, or stick-up a bank and zip away. Once they’ve demon...
by Geek Staff
0

 
 
 

Air Pollution Deaths Around The World [Infographic]

You’ve probably seen those photos of Beijing on a bad pollution day. Such days come and go, but the effects of even small amounts of increased pollution may linger in a population for a long time. Several studies have est...
by Geek Staff
0