Israeli scientists have created a solution that delays the decaying process in vegetables without having to keep them refrigerated – in some cases by up to a month.
The solution, developed by Dr Rivka Elbaum of the Hebrew University Robert H Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, works by slowing down ageing and the loss of chlorophyll in leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cauliflower, celery and spinach, among others. Although still under development, it has already been patented in Israel and the US, according to a report in Shalom Life.
“We’ve been talking to some large organisations such as food wholesalers, who are very interested in working with us,” said a spokesperson for Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University. “We are still working out how to implement the solution – one option would be to spray it onto vegetables in supermarkets instead of water. One application is enough to keep lettuce leaves fresh for a month, but it is not yet clear whether multiple applications preserve the leaves for longer.”
The developers believe the technology could be useful in parts of India and Africa where poor farmers are often forced to sell fresh produce below market value due to a lack of coldstorage and limited transport infrastructure.