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Development of citrus pectin coating and its effect on fruit maturity

Grant number: 18/21887-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2018
Effective date (End): October 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Materials and Metallurgical Engineering - Nonmetallic Materials
Principal researcher:Rondinelli Donizetti Herculano
Grantee:Gabriela Abdalla
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCFAR). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil


A new and constantly growing technological segment is the development of coatings for fresh fruits with conservation and protection properties and capable of increasing their shelf life. Biodegradable polymers are promising to this appliance, considering the current urge in sustainability and environmental preservation. The main goal of this project is to develop a coating for fresh fruits made of citric pectin, starch, glycerol and lemon essential oil. Pectin and starch have been chosen because of their abundance in nature, low prices and their potential when composing materials such as coatings, as already shown in previous studies. Glycerol will be incorporated as a plasticizer, in order to increase the mechanical resistance of the material, and the lemon essential oil as an antimicrobial agent capable of retard or even inhibit fruit contaminations. The pectin and essential oil used are subproducts of citrus processing industries from Brazil, mostly from the State of São Paulo. The coating will be subjected to physical-chemical characterization through techniques such as Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and mechanical, swelling and water vapor permeability (WVP) tests. The coating with the best results on those tests will be remade and applied to the fruit. The effects of the coating on the fruit maturation process will be determined through peel color and pulp firmness measurements of the fruit with and without coating (control). This main hypothesis of this study is that besides good physical-chemical characteristics, the coating is able of retarding fruit maturation process.

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