A new study suggests that applying an aloe vera gel coating to pomegranate arils can significantly extend their shelf-life. Demand for pomegranate arils has risen sharply in recent years, but fruit quality deteriorates rapidly postharvest due to desiccation and browning, reducing the product’s shelf-life.
Now a team at Elche’s Miguel Hernández University has discovered that coating the arils in a gel based on aloe vera can improve both the commercial life and quality of the fruit. The study, results of which were reported on the Postharvest website, treated arils by immersion in a solution containing organic acids and subsequently with an aloe vera gel solution, before placing them inside plastic packages under coldstorage for 17 days.
The results revealed that fruit treated with the gel had a lower maturity index than an untreated control and that the edible coating resulted in lower ethylene concentration in the packaging head space and firmer arils. The gel did not affect the natural flavour of the arils or the internal gas composition of the package when compared to a control.
Moreover, the edible coating led to a dramatic reduction in the microbial counts, leading the research team to conclude that aloe vera gel coating could be an effective additional technology for improving the general quality of this product.