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Friday, December 13, 2013

Eating artificially ripened fruits is harmful 12-14

Eating artificially ripened fruits is harmful
Presently, the whole world is emphasizing on malnutrition, food safety and health security. Several programmes have also been launched in this regard. The year 2008–09 was declared as the ‘Food Safety and Quality Year’ by the Government of India. Most fruit sellers use Calcium carbide for ripening the fruits. Calcium carbide is extremely hazardous to the human body as it contains tracesof arsenic and phosphorus. It is banned in many countries of the world, but it is freely used in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and other countries. Thus we are at risk of short-term and long-term health effects simply by eating fruits that are induced to ripen. This article discusses the com-mon yet most important fact related to fruits – how nutrition changes over to malnutrition?

Fruits, no other class of food has a variety of pleasant and attractive flavour. With their delicate colour-ing, fruits please the eye as well as the plate. Withmodern transport and cool chain management system, itis possible to have fresh fruits practically all the yearround, where it is produced and also in areas where it isnot possible to grow fruits. As a consequence, consump-tion of fruits has increased considerably in our country.Studies have indicated that people do not consumeenough vitamin C not because of increased cost orunavailability, but because they are often unaware of thenutritious value and sources.There is growing interest and concern among peopleregarding foods and their relationship to nutrition anddiseases
Food security used to be the primary concernof countries and individuals alike. But, as agriculturalresearch succeeds in alleviating the effect of diseases andadverse climate, food security is generally not perceivedas a problem any longer; instead concern over quantity hasbeen replaced by preoccupation with quality

Simultane-ously, people are more conscious about issues such asecology, energy conservation and management practicesfor food production, including pretreatment, which facili-tates or increases the attractiveness and ultimately presen-tation.

Fruits are the best natural food for all. Nowadays fruitsare deliberately being contaminated by chemicals causingserious health hazards. Toxic chemicals are indiscrimi-nately used to grow, ripen and make fruits appear fresheror even last longer, particularly during early and off-season

Among the pretreatments, which are mostly fol-lowed for fruits intended for better consumer acceptanceand facilitating better marketing, is artificial fruit ripen-ing. Artificial ripening is done to achieve faster and moreuniform ripening characteristics

Ripening, in general, is a physiological process whichmakes the fruit edible, palatable and nutritious

In naturefruits ripen after attainment of proper maturity by asequence of physical and biochemical events and theprocess is irreversible, ultimately leading to senescence.Whether fruits ripen on the plant or after harvest, thegeneral ripening changes associated with the ripeningprocess are easily recognizable. During ripening fruitssoften, change colour and develop characteristic aromaand flavour. There is also a reduction in sourness (acids)and increase in the sweetness, etc.

Underlying thesechanges, there may be changes in hormone levels, respi-ration and cellular organization.
Factors influencing theprocess of ripening include stage of fruit maturity andthe environment where it has to be allowed to ripen,including temperature and relative humidity

Artificial ripening
Unsaturated hydrocarbons, particularly acetylene, ethyl-ene, etc. can promote ripening and induce colour changeseffectively

Although the cosmetic quality of suchartificially ripened fruits was found to improve, theorganoleptic quality was impaired especially when har-vested fruits were subjected to treatment without consid-ering their maturity status

Besides, the quantity of ripening agent required to induce ripening for better cos-metic quality, including appearance, etc. will be muchmore than the conventional dose, when properly maturefruits are not used for such purposes. The internal ethy-lene concentrations, measured in several climacteric andnon-climacteric fruits are presented in Table 1.The following are the sources of ethylene or acetyleneproduction

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