Eco friendly packaging material from banana pseudo stem for transportation of fruits and vegetables

M.D. Yoga Milani, D.S. Samarawickrama, P.S.D. Perera, R.S. Wilson Wijeratnam, I.G.N. Hewajulige
The average daily intake of fruits and vegetables in Sri Lanka is well below WHO recommended levels, whereas postharvest losses continue to remain high, averaging between 30 and 40% in Sri Lanka. Fruits and vegetables are highly perishable commodities and need careful handling at all stages of the supply chain. The use of proper packaging is crucial during transportation and storage. Styrofoam sleeving is currently used for individual fruits such as papaya and mango, when packed in stackable plastic crates for domestic transportation, and in corrugated cardboard cartons for export. The styrofoam sleeves are water resistant and not biodegradable and can cause damage to produce during storage and transportation. An alternative environmentally friendly packaging material has been developed for cushioning fruits from abrasion and vibration damage during storage and transportation. The cushioning material is biodegradable and prepared from banana-pseudo stems. Value addition to this agricultural waste product provides employment and income generating opportunities to farming communities engaged in banana cultivation. A comparative storage study of the Sri Lankan TJC mango packed with either styrofoam sleeving or banana fruit wrap (BFW) paper was conducted at 13±2°C over 28 days to evaluate the actual performance of the BFW paper. Color, firmness, °Brix, pH and acidity were recorded at 7-day intervals and subjected to statistical analyses. There was no statistically significant difference between mangoes packed with the BFW when compared with the styrofoam sleeving at the 7th, 14th and 21st days with respect to all the above tested parameters. The results suggest that the BFW could be a possible echo-friendly biodegradable alternative to the styrofoam sleeving to protect fruits during transport. Microbial analysis was conducted on BFW as per SLS 516. As initial, anaerobic plate counts, yeast, mold and presumptive coliforms were observed in the BFW, banana pulp was prepared after treatment with different concentrations of chlorine solutions (1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3%) for 24 h, respectively. These treatments also showed presence of anaerobic plate counts, yeast, mold and presumptive coliforms. However, complete microbial disinfestations was observed in BFW paper prepared with and without chlorine treated banana pulp and subjected to the gamma irradiation at a dose of 25 kGy.
Yoga Milani, M.D., Samarawickrama, D.S., Perera, P.S.D., Wilson Wijeratnam, R.S. and Hewajulige, I.G.N. (2020). Eco friendly packaging material from banana pseudo stem for transportation of fruits and vegetables. Acta Hortic. 1278, 59-64
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1278.9
banana pseudo-stem, fruit wrap paper, styrofoam sleeving, fruit transport

Acta Horticulturae